It cannot be denied that Damien Chazelle’s ‘Whiplash‘ and Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan‘ are disarmingly similar. There’s the young naif at the heart of each film, Miles Teller’s Andrew Neimann vs. Natalie Portman’s Nina Sayers. There’s the overbearing instructor looming over each story: J.K. Simmons’ Terence Fletcher vs. Vincent Cassel’s Thomas Leroy. And there’s also the drive towards an artistic goal that ultimately leads a protagonist into the depths of his or her own creative self. And, as Fernando Andrés points out in this excellent video essay, which lays out considerable connections between the two films, both works focus on a particular body part that embodies the struggle at the story’s heart. In ‘Whiplash," it’s the hands; in "Black Swan,’ it’s the feet. Revisiting these two films in this form is edifying in and of itself, but the comparison so elegantly explored here also reminds us of something else behind all artistic endeavors: tenaciousness. Not quitting. Never thinking that one has done, to quote J.K Simmons’ sadistic but half-right teacher, a "good job." Suffering comes out of this kind of determination, and plenty of it. But that thing which we call, broadly, "art" comes out of it, too.
Watch: Damien Chazelle’s ‘Whiplash’ and Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’ Are the Same Film