Wednesday, April 29, 2015

White Swan, Black Swan Blogathon


Sati of Cinematic Corner has come up with a clever idea for a blogathon. The rules are as followed:
1. Choose max 3 characters to write about.
2. You can also feature characters from TV series.
3. We are not looking for doppelgangers - we are looking for one person with two sides. For example in
Black Swan you can write about Nina and her alter ego but not about Lily and Nina, which are two different people. You can write about Gollum/Smeagol but you cannot write about Bette and Dot - the Siamese twins from AHS: Freakshow - because technically they are two different people.
4. Write about why you chose the character.
5. Provide a theory on what causes the two different sides and what are the signs and contradictions between the two.
Admittedly it wasn't easy to choose one character, let alone three. A few I came up with originally were basically dual personalities (Primal Fear, A History of Violence, Seconds) but I didn't like them the more I thought about them. Finally I opted for those characters that hide behind a mask for the public eye. My choices are:

Eve Harrington
All About Eve (1950, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Suzanne Stone
To Die For (1995, dir. Gus Van Sant)
Tom Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, dir. Anthony Minghella)
My explanations start after the jump. (Also: spoilers!)

EVE HARRINGTON

White Swan: sincere, innocent, helpful


Black Swan: manipulative, calculating, temptress

As the song goes, there's no business like show business. And boy, All About Eve proves that like nobody's business. Eve first gives a sob story to earn sympathy which almost everyone believes. ("What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.") Then after earning everyone's respect, she proceeds to become Margo's personal assistant (and eventually understudy), and seduces Bill (unsuccessfully) and Lloyd (successfully) for a chance at stardom. It's true some people will do anything for the spotlight, but Eve takes it to a new level. Hell, she was probably this close to killing someone if they'd gotten in her way. (Speaking of which...)

SUZANNE STONE

White Swan: charming, bubbly, sociable


Black Swan: narcissist, craves the spotlight, icy

Oh, this is the true mark of a sociopath, isn't it? Polite and mannerly to the outside world but when there's someone that doesn't agree with them, they'll dispose of them as if they were a piece of trash. (The fact that several of the film's elements were borrowed from a real criminal case certainly adds to the creepiness.) But as is the case with sociopaths, they often ignore the most glaring of details. (Suzanne thought she got away with murder but considering her accomplices were her teenage lover and his friends, the likelihood of that happening got slimmer and slimmer with each passing moment.)

TOM RIPLEY

White Swan: caring, shy, trustworthy


Black Swan: liar, schemer, coward

Liar and schemer clearly (after all, the whole premise of the film is him murdering a man, covering up his crime, and stealing the man's identity and money), but why is Tom considered a coward? Simple: he'd rather bury his lies (and other people) with more lies than coming clean. (By film's end, he has the blood of three men on his hands.) Then again, had he come clean early on, this would've been one hell of a short movie.

Guess it was inevitable that at least one of the entries would be a murderer. (Having a guilty conscience, however, is clearly something they would never encounter.) Sometimes the best disguise is to simply blend in with the crowd. Then nobody would ever assume of the atrocities you've committed...

10 comments:

  1. Interesting choices which are right on the nose. I'm not a Kidman fan but this is one of the few films where I found her to be quite effective. Damon really gets the shy/shifty balance that is so necessary to make Ripley work and of course Anne Baxter is sheer brilliance as the duplicitous Eve. 20th Century Fox pushed her hard to compete in supporting and she probably would have won her second Oscar there but she was right to stick to her guns and be placed in best actress, she and Davis are co-leads.

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  2. Eve is a perfect choice. She was absolutely playing a role with every person she spoke to.

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  3. Great picks. I haven't seen the first two, but I loved The Talented Mr. Ripley. That's an excellent choice. Now I want to re-watch it. *off to Netflix*

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    1. Oh, you should. All About Eve and To Die For are great.

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  4. Brilliant, BRILLIANT PICKS! Love the Ripley mention especially.

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  5. Thanks so much for participating! Love all of your choices, especially Suzanne - my favorite performance from Kidman and such a great movie

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    1. You're welcome. It was fun to do. :)

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