Venice, Toronto, New York. The fall film festivals are the film world's rough equivalent of the Iowa caucuses, and we know how much those usually mean. (Just ask Mike Huckabee or Pat Robertson.) While my personal choice at the moment is Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), it's a thrill to see Natalie Portman getting some early Oscar love for Black Swan. (Vulture)
Boom! Darren Aronofsky's winged-ballerina thriller Black Swan screened last night at the Venice Film Festival and the reviews are nearly all good: In Contention's Guy Lodge gives it four stars and calls it "boldly deranged and beautifully despairing." "Best film I’ve seen all year," declares Obsessed With Film's Robert Beames. "Aronofsky has made his first masterpiece." Variety's Peter DeBruge says, "Aronofsky seems to be operating in the vein of early Roman Polanski or David Cronenberg at his most operatic." "Alternately disturbing and exhilarating," raves Screen International's Mike Goodridge, "[Swan] is one of the most exciting films to come out of the Hollywood system this year." Also, IndieWire's Todd McCarthy calls it "a Red Shoes on acid," which sounds awesome. So what of the film's star, Natalie Portman, tipped as a contender in this year's crowded Best Actress race?