Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan (2010)
  • Time: 108 min
  • Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller
  • Director: Darren Aronofsky
  • Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel


A psychological thriller set in the world of New York City Ballet, BLACK SWAN stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a featured dancer who finds herself locked in a web of competitive intrigue with a new rival at the company (Mila Kunis). The film takes a thrilling and at times terrifying journey through the psyche of a young ballerina whose starring role as the duplicitous swan queen turns out to be a part for which she becomes frighteningly perfect.


  • Natalie Portman’s acting was perfection, really great performance! Also the music is wonderful and fits perfectly in this movie. On the other hand: the story was sometimes very good, but sometimes a little bit boring. What bothered me also: many parts of this film felt like it belonged in the horror genre. “Black Swan” has been nominated for a swag of awards, and almost all the critics’ reviews say that it’s great, but it didn’t convince me enough, this movie was kind of a disappointment to me…

  • If Stanley Kubrick ever made a film about a ballerina obsessed with perfection, and as a result, she suffers physically and psychologically, that film would probably look like Black Swan. But having said that, Black Swan is very much Darren Aronofsky’s own work, a film that is so intoxicatingly beautiful and such an immersive, and I dare say, hallucinatory cinematic experience that it is difficult to leave the theater with all your sanity intact.

    A cross between Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948) and Kubrick’s very own The Shining (1980), Black Swan is a psychological horror-drama that will leave viewers floored. Natalie Portman plays Nina in perhaps her most demanding lead role to date. She rises up to the task in a tremendous performance of grace and vulnerability.

    Nina is a ballerina seeking for a chance to succeed. She gets the part of Swan Queen in a new-age reworking of Swan Lake. She plays the White Swan with utmost elegance. But it is the role of Black Swan that troubles her. Her ballet coach Thomas (Vincent Cassel) tells Nina to let herself go, to feel her own body, and to surrender herself to the darkness of that role.

    Sexually repressed and living with an overbearing (and possibly) incestuous mother, Nina is haunted by the increasing frequency of dark thoughts. The arrival of Lily (Mila Kunis), her alternate to play Swan Queen, threatens her mental well-being. After all, Lily is everything Nina is not; the former eases into the role of Black Swan effortlessly too.

    It is very easy to sympathize with Nina, who is externally pressured by her mother, Thomas and Lily, and internally tormented by psychological insecurities, but Aronofsky’s wildly imaginative and occasionally detached directing style allow ample room for viewers to be engaged intellectually as well.

    Like Nolan’s Inception (2010), and Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010) before that, Black Swan is a trip down the deepest recesses of a character’s mind, except this is a near psychedelic one. With scenes of look-away violence, non-arousing lesbian intimacy, and fantastical horror imagery, Aronofsky does not pull back on the punches as he conceives a visceral film of such frightening power that it hits viewers straight in the gut. There are moments that would make even the most seasoned horror fan jump in fear.

    Black Swan also features an astonishing score by the underrated Clint Mansell, who rearranges Tchaikovsky’s music and fuses it together with his own, providing the film with a unique sound design that aptly accompanies Nina’s descent to madness.

    The unpredictable nature of the film, and the nightmarish approach to what is essentially a simple story about a woman losing her mind not only make this one of the most special film experiences of the year, but also secure Aronofsky’s position as arguably the most formidable American filmmaker working today.

    GRADE: A (9/10)

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