Ooh, la la, Chanel on Rue La La

Okay, well the weather isn't like this quite yet, but the thawing snow is giving me some hope that it won't be much longer. Spring into Spring–budding trees, lilacs, pastels, vibrant colors, strappy open-toed shoes–and feel awakened from the mundane grays of the winter sky and slush-filled streets.

I’ve suddenly become excited about my upcoming Spring wardrobe after feeling inspired. Perhaps it is the warming weather and the fact that melting snow resembles puddles of Spring, or maybe it’s that I spent hours browsing enviously at cute clothes online. Either way, I’m excited to start wearing warmer weather clothing. I’ve started a list of items I need to start collecting. The official day of Spring is March 20th, but I’m quickly learning that New York weather is not nearly as harsh or long as Michigan weather soit seems that I will be able to shed my winter coat quite soon.

While I absolutely loved theflowy pastel colored skirts and silk shimmery tops seen at the Valentino and Chanel Spring 2011 Couture shows, I’m realistic that I won’t be able to afford such beauties. Butthat doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to do someheavy searching to try to find cute stylish clothes on a somewhat tight budget. Below are some things on my “”to buy”” list. I’ve been so annoyed with the fact that people scold me every time I’ve worn white after Labor Day (come on, that’s so old school)that I’m probably going to go a little white happy (no pun intended) when it’s finally Spring.


Film Review: Black Swan

**Note: spoiler alert**

I heard about Black Swan from a friend who told me to check out the trailer. After watching it I immediately wanted to see it. Then all of a sudden it blew up and everyone in New York (at least it seemed) was buzzing about it. The first night I went to see it I ended up calling a local theater in advance to make sure they had tickets for a particular time and I was informed that tickets had been sold out five hours prior to my call. Therefore, going into the movie I had very high expectations.
I thought Natalie Portman did a great job. I had heard even before seeing the movie that she had lost 20 lbs. for the role to have a body more like a ballerina’s, but her acting in itself made her believable. I was so annoyed with her! I wanted to grab her shoulders and shake her sometimes which goes to show that she did the job right–she was able to evoke emotions and opinions from her audience. Better yet, she makes the audience contemplate the complexity of her character. Although the main character, Nina, played by Portman, is an adult, she still lives at home, she’s an unassertive milquetoast, and she talks in a soft, whisper-like voice which makes you want to yell at her to speak up and grow a backbone. One deep-rooted issue Nina faces is her inability to really grow up. Her mother is rather smothering and she certainly crosses the mother-daughter boundaries considering Nina is an adult herself. Her mother even tucks her in bed still for heaven’s sake!

A pivotal scene is when Nina allows herself to “”explore”” and let go a little by touching herself when she wakes up one morning, and just as she is starting to enjoy herself she looks over to find her mother asleep in a chair next to her bed. The scene shows the restrictions Nina faces as an unsure, dependent adult who is wishing to finally grow up. Her bedroom is decorated like that of a little girl’s. The room and bedspread are pink and white and she still has dozens of stuffed animals. Inside she’s wishing to break free, but her home environment and her mother are holding her back.
Nina has been oppressed for so long, her main struggle is the one with herself. Even though she does want to experience new things, sexual things, she holds herself back because it’s unfamiliar and she cannot contemplate being anything other than pure. Nina so desperately wants to be the perfect ballerina. Her instructor even tells her that she has a near perfect technique, but unfortunately that’s not enough, especially for the leading role of the company’s new performance of Swan Lake*.

Nina’s obsession with perfectionism is essentially what “”births”” her and destroys her at the same time. Her internal battle at trying to let go and be seductive enough to be a convincing black swan is too much for her to take. How can a single person be a black swan and a white swan when the roles are completely opposite? Her instructor tells her from the get-go that she is the model of a white swan and that her difficulty would be letting loose enough to transform into a black swan as well. The embodiment of both proves to be too much. She lashes out at her mom (although in my opinion it was about time), she starts hallucinating, and she becomes extremely paranoid and feels threatened.

What I found to be most interesting is that although Nina destroys herself by the end of the film, she’s happy because she did become the perfect black and white swan.Black Swan is twisted. The film forces you to pay close attention in order to try to distinguish if certain events are real or part of Nina’s psychological breakdown.
I absolutely recommend this movie to others. It has been praised by both ballet lovers and non-ballet connoisseurs alike. Just go in knowing that it’s a pretty heavy film. Be prepared to take a few minutes after watching the movie to let all of the fast-paced scenes sink in and to mull over the complex, entwined themes.

*Swan Lake is a ballet composed in 1875. Since the first performance, many different endings have been written.

Film Review: The Fighter

Last night I saw The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. I really didn’t have any intentions of seeing it, but I agreed to go along simply to spend more time with a friend who was only visiting for a few days. The Fighter definitely exceeded any small expectations I had for the film. Those are actually my favorite movie experiences–when you go in not having any expectations and not even really knowing what the movie is about just to be thoroughly entertained and end up really enjoying the film. Let’s just say I’m very happy I agreed to see it. Since it’s a film about boxing and I know nothing about boxing, I figured it wouldn’t interest me much, but there was so much more going on than simply boxing. It’s the story of not one but two men–brothers–who are boxers and the relationship not only between them but also their large family.

The film sent me through a roller coaster of emotions. Dickey Ecklund, played by Bale, goes through a drug addiction, and although it’s a serious matter and he messes up a lot he still has big heart and big personality, and he keeps the audience chuckling. He is quite a character to say the least. Micky Ward, played by Wahlberg, is the younger, less outspoken brother. Together they make a fantastic team which is evident by the end of the film despite all of their problems. In addition, even though their family is dysfunctional they all stick together no matter what, and they remain loyal.

The Fighter is a motivating film that shows that you should always have faith in your abilities and never give up. If life throws you an obstacle that you cannot climb over pave yourself a new path. That is what Dickey finally does when he realizes his days of professional boxing are over. He instead focuses his efforts on training Micky so that Micky can win the title he never did.

Audiences love a good story of an underdog’s struggle to make it to the top, and this film executes it wonderfully. I also love the fact that it’s based on a true story. During the credits at the end of the film, a short clip of the real half-brothers is shown. Bale mimicked the real Dickey so well I was really astonished. Not only was his acting amazing but he also lost a ton of weight to play the role. He looked skeletal and his eyes looked shrunken. He was believable

as a drug user.

Another reason why I think The Fighter is an excellent film is because the setting took place in the 90’s and everything from the clothes and big hair to the cars were accurate of the 90’s style. Finally, I liked that the two brothers were from a small town, yet no matter how successful they became, they remained loyal to their town. They seem like average working class men in construction–they don’t wear nice clothes, drive nice vehicles, have an especially nice house or go anywhere particularly extravagant, but they are champions inside. They truly are the town heroes.

If you liked Million Dollar Baby with Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood I’m sure you’ll enjoy The Fighter as well. I whole heartedly recommend it.”