Black Swan


Spoiler warning: If you have not seen Black Swan, there is a slight plot twist that is mentioned below, and may ruin the film for you, so don’t read on if you’re going to have that ugly swan emerge.

The Academy Award portrayal of a ballet dancer with bisexual tendencies in Black Swan won an Academy Award for best Actress on Sunday evening, and her role was honored at the Independent Spirit Awards and dozens of other honors this year.

In fact, it was the only surefire bet for the Oscars this year that Natalie Portman would win for the dark role, where she was fantasizing about all sorts of sexuality.

The last explicitly bisexual character to win an Academy Award was Penelope Cruz’s portrayal in Vicki Cristina Barcelona two years ago.

Portman, pregnant and beautiful in lavender, seemed thrilled about her win. The film features an intense sexual relationship between Portman and Mila Kunis‘s characters, especially after they are both after the same part.

Click here to see what she had to say backstage

But, this portrayal in the ballet film is clearly another disturbing portrayal of those who may have bisexual tendencies.

Filmmaker Kyle Schickner, who identifies as bi, and has bi characters in films like “Steam” and “Rose by Any Other Name” and the web series, “Rose by Any Other Name” said he didn’t particularly like Black Swan or Portman’s portrayal.

Schickner points out that Portman’s portrayal uses bisexuality as a dip into the dark side of her personality, as if it is something forbidden.

He thinks “The very best portrayal period of a bisexual person ever in cinema is Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium Trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest). She is strong, independent and clearly bi and has no issue with it. It is simply who she is. Not sure if the movies use the B word but the books surely do. They can all be Netflixed. Hollywood is remaking them and although I have some reservations that they might tone down her sexuality, I have some faith that the director David Fincher might not shy away from a strong, brilliant sexy bisexual character.”

Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis share a moment of torrid passion in Black Swan

It’s true that some people think that Portman’s portrayal of Nina in Black Swan is in fact, asexual, and that her fantasy is a repression of lesbian tendencies. I disagree with that because she does seem to have an attraction toward men, especially older men, and isn’t repelled when her director makes a pass at her.

She has an odd attraction toward her rival dancer Lily played deliciously by Mila Kunis and their torrid sexual encounter is hot and passionate, and then (sorry to ruin it, but it really doesn’t) it turns out that it’s a fantasy.

Darren Aronofsky‘s direction and writing is always a bit off kilter. He does that on purpose, and he does so with this character of Nina that Portman so deservingly won awards for, and should be honored even more.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan; Accepting her Academy Award For Best Actress at the 2011 Oscars

Very few mainstream film critics even mention bisexuality. And a few even discuss how Nina goes out to a disco and tries to infuse herself in a very horny and sexy bi guy in a scene that shows an obvious willingness and longing for bisexual foreplay.

One story even explored the character with real therapists, saying: The exploration of bisexuality was also on point in the ballet world, where men are often gay and where women’s physiques are more childlike.

“The ballet world gives you such a message to look like a child,” said ballet psychologist Nadine Kaslow.”They are pretty flat-chested and they look like kids. The notion of being sexual or being a woman — it’s not uncommon to struggle with that.”

Whatever the interpretation, the top honors that actors can receive was awarding a portrayal of a character that exhibits bisexual characteristics. It would be nice that they someday honor a character that does so, and doesn’t exhibit lunatic tendencies.

Official Film Website: Black Swan


About Author

Mike Szymanski

Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.”

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