How Natalie Portman Films Teach Us About Advocacy


HOLLYWOOD, California – Embedded within several Natalie Portman films are themes that speak out to viewers, and one of the most important is the sense of advocacy. In each of her films, the audience sees advocacy through one character helping another, and viewers can see the urgency of the cause. If one does not advocate for another, there will never be change within society.

Advocacy can be found in the popular film from 2000, Where The Heart Is, in which Portman plays a young woman who suffers from abuse and negligence by her boyfriend. When the pair are traveling together on a road trip, they stop at a local Walmart wherein her boyfriend decides to abandon her, leaving without her belongings and pregnant. Portman’s character does not know anyone in town and she continues to live unnoticed inside the Walmart until she gives birth one night with the help of a stranger.

Throughout this film, Portman’s character receives the extended help and kindness from strangers within the local town who soon become her closest friends. By these characters reaching out to her in a time of need, the audience sees that advocacy can end reoccurring crimes, such as domestic violence and abuse. This is a powerful film for it reaches out to the audience by establishing a powerful sense of advocacy to help others who are in need or who may be in trouble. By doing so, it established a sense of humanity within the town and offers a sense of renewed hope within society.

A sense of advocacy can be also found in Portman’s Oscar-winning film Black Swan, where Portman portrays a struggling ballerina who is given the lead role in the popular ballet, Black Swan. Through her struggles at home and at work, Portman’s character becomes delusional, believing that everyone who loves her is truly against her and is seeking to destroy her life. The ballerina also strives to play the perfect role, and slowly destroys herself physically and mentally to achieve the sense of perfection. By the end of the film, the character kills herself after achieving a perfect and flawless performance.

This film stresses a sense of advocacy by expanding the idea that it is unhealthy for anyone to become obsessive about something. The message is that advocating for friends and family can prevent self-harming behavior. By helping others who are troubled or in dangerous situations, an individual can help save a life.

Natalie Portman’s films truly stress advocacy by helping those who are in need.

– Grace Elizabeth Beal

Sources: Merriam Webster, IMDB: Where the Heart Is, IMDB: Black Swan
Photo: Beyond Hollywood


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