Thursday, December 16, 2010

A life in movies: Natalie Portman


With the release of "Black Swan"  going wide this weekend. I thought I would take a look back at some of the movies that showed the world at what an amzing actress this young woman  is. 

Leon.  1994

 (Photo: Gaumont Films)

Many of you know this movie by it's other name "The Professional".  But I strongly suggest you see Luc Besson's original longer version before it was cut for the U.S.  This one features Portman in her film debut as a young girl whose  family is murdered during a botched drug deal.  She finds refuge in the custody of Leon(Jean Reno) a hitman who works for a local mob boss.  The two characters learn a lot from each other.  Mathilda(Portman) learns how to become strong and independent while Leon learns to express his feelings and generate real love for another human being.   The longer cut features more scenes that show the evolution of their relationship which makes the action moments in the end that much more powerful.  It's an action movie that has real heart to it,but it ain't all soft and sweet.

Beautiful Girls. 1996

(Photo: Miramax Films)

The late Ted Demme directed Natalie in this tale of high school buddies reuniting for a weekend. Portman portrays Marty,the young neighbor who begins a friendship with Willie(Timothy Hutton)  Despite her young age Marty is the most mature and more down to earth than the rest of the girls these guys are obsessing over. In this movie she shows she can be a part of a big ensemble cast, but still hold her own and create the most memorable character of the entire movie.

1996 - 1999.

(Photo: Lucasfilm LTD)

During this time, Miss Portman was working with some very talented directors in different genres of movies,  She appeared in Tim Burton's Scifi spoof"Mars Attacks", Woody Allen's musical "Everyone says I love you" and Wayne Wang's drama"Anywhere but here".  It's also during this time that Natalie starred in her first blockbuster.  George Lucas' "StarWars:Episode I: The Phantom Menace"  In this movie she played the role of Padme the love interest of a young Anakin Sywalker.  In these movies Pade never ages.  Which is amazing because little Darth Vader ages a good ten years in only three but not her.

Garden State.   2004

(Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

This is the movie where I fell in love with her.  I loved her earlier movies, but she was just a tad to young for me.   Hell I was only  sixteen  when "Leon" was released and she was twelve.  I know four years is not  much of an age difference but it is when your that age.  Her portrayal as the free spirted Sam who helps Andrew(Zach Braff) begin to deal with his emotions after years of being medicated is one that I absolutely adore.  I like the way her character finds the humorous side in everything.  Even the fact of her having to wear a helmet during work because of her epilepsy.

Closer.  2004

(Photo: Columbia Pictures)

If "Garden State" was the movie I fell in love with Portman.  "Closer" would be the movie I fell in lust with her.  In this movie she plays Alice who is in love with  Dan(Jude Law) who is in love with Anna(Julia Roberts) who loves... but that's not important.  What is important is that in this movie she plays a stripper and I gotta say she is damn good.  I don't know where she went for research but she can sure dance.  I'm going to have to watch this again real soon.

V For Vendetta.  2006

(Photo:  Warner Brothers Pictures)

Natalie goes all bad ass in this movie written by the Warchowski Brothers("Bound"  The Matrix).  V for Vendetta is set in a futuristic fascist society where people's lives and freedoms are being trampled.   Evey(Portman ) is a young radical is captured and put in prison, but is soon rescued by a masked vigilante(Hugo Weaving).  The movie spiked minimal controversy because people thought it promoted terrorist acts.  It was great to see Natalie expend and be in an action movie and although I don't find this to be her best performance It is one that I do watch again.

Saturday Night Live:  Digital Short.  2006

(Photo:  NBC Studios)

Natalie Portman spoofs herself in this very funny short from Saturday Night Live.  Shot in gritty black and white, she does a rap in the style of Lil Kim and explains to all of us just how nasty and hardcore she is  I love the fact  of having actors who are known for their high brow dramas  be able to spoof their work and not be afraid to have others laugh at them.

Black Swan.  2010

(Photo:  Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Natalie works her fucking ass off in this movie.  I have not been this floored by an actor since Bjork in "Dancer In The Dark(if your laughing, than your have not seen that movie and you don't know shit)  Her performance in this psychological thriller will be discussed and in some cases studied.   Her transformation both emotionally and physically is ground breaking.  Despite what you think about the actual movie.  You can not deny the sheer brilliance of Natalie Portman in Black Swan.


  1. natalie Portman will probvably get the Oscar for her role in Black swan,and i hope so.
    Not allways was i a fan of Miss Portman,but This young Israeli woman earned her title as a magnificent actress,and "Black Swan" is the cherry in the cake.
    Natali ,a full woman with a little girls face sure woths this post mate.Congratulations.
    Plus,her masturbation and sex scene with Mila Kunis are steaming hot in Black Swan!
    A great post.Cheers mate!

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