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Credit: Niko Tavernise

Image Credit: Niko TaverniseSo yesterday I got a funny voicemail from my sister, at the end of which she mentioned off-hand that she and my mom were en route to see Black Swan. I loved Black Swan, and I said as much multiple times over Christmas, in front of my mom. In fact, I actively encouraged her to go see it. But the moment I heard that voicemail, a good hour after my sister had left it, I realized I had made a monumental mistake. My intuition was confirmed when my mom subsequently called me after the movie to inform me that she found the movie “deeply, deeply disturbing.”

And she didn’t stop there. On Facebook today, she proclaimed Black Swan “tough to recommend,” told another good friend she should “seriously consider skipping the movie — True Grit is a lot more fun,” and posted on my profile that “it was the highly dysfunctional relationships [in the movie] that bothered me — that mother/daughter merger was just creepy, and that’s my official diagnosis.” (To be fair, she also said Natalie Portman gave a “great performance.”) When we talked about it while I was on my way to work this morning, I posited that maybe she would’ve had a different reaction had she not seen it with her own daughter. Her response: “Ummm, I probably would’ve walked out.”

It would help to point out that my mother, an astute filmgoer, is also a psychotherapist who usually avoids movies that are as psychologically harrowing as Black Swan — they’re too much like work, and, more to the point, just not to her taste. The thing is, I already know this about her, and I let my enthusiasm for the film keep me from warning her about what was in store if and when she saw it. If I had, she either would have skipped it, or at least walked in better prepared for the movie’s whirligigs of creepy, twisty, psycho-sexual dysfunction.

A decade ago, I also rather famously took my parents to the 2001 pitch-black comedic thriller Sexy Beastafter we’d spent the day moving me into my first (and, it turned out, last) New York City apartment, so I blame exhaustion for the utter collapse of my better judgment on that one. Anyone got a story that can top that? What movies do you dearly wish you had warned your folks about before they saw it?

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