Black Swan, Black Mood

Over the weekend, I was among probably the last three people in the universe to see “Black Swan” that terrific, terrifying Golden Globe-winning psychological thriller about a top ballet dancer.

Natalie Portman in "Black Swan."

The movie was among the best I’ve ever seen. The storyline is too complex to describe here, but I’ll say Natalie Portman’s performance was extraordinary. The plot and script were complex and surprising and uber-creative, the cinematography was amazing. I was tense right from the opening scene of the film, and my heart was still pounding an hour after the film ended.

Therein lies the problem. Although I have a crystal clear sense of the difference between fiction and reality, I’m greatly affected by some music, books, movies or other media. Especially if the work is especially well done. And especially if the movie involved some sort of terrifying situation, as “Black Swan” did.

As I said, my heart kept pounding as I drove home from the theater Saturday night. Although I can’t remember the details of the dreams I had that night, they were disturbing, involving blood, bitter arguments in the shadows of some decrepit back stage of a theater. In my fitful sleep, I felt betrayal, sadness, anger. Not my usual emotions, either awake or asleep.

Natalie Portman's character starts to lose it in "Black Swan."

During the day Sunday, I found myself falling into an uncharacteristic black mood, in large part because of that movie, I now realize.

It’s Monday now, and I’ve recovered, but I’m still thinking about that movie in my quiet moments.

It sounds really extreme and silly, doesn’t it, that I am so affected by what is Just. A. Movie.

But maybe the movie was a good excuse to get in touch with my dark side. It’s cleansing. Finding your inner mental turmoil is probably a good way to ensure the turbulence never, ever takes control.

That way, when push comes to shove, I won’t so easily collapse under the weight of some future, real trauma.

That’s the hope anyway. I’m healthy in mind and body. But I know the whole “there by the grace of God” routine.  The movie depicted a horrible descent into madness. In the news in the past week or two, we’ve seen much more real, much more tragic decents into violent craziness.

As I look out the window today at a beautiful sunny skies, and reflect on my mood, now returned to my own usual sunny mental state,  I thank goodness that I’m lucky enough to have strength, luck, and exactly the right people in my life to keep me on a solid, stable, reality-based footing.

Reality. What a concept.

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