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Black Swan (2010)

A 2010 psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky.

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"In order to exist, beauty needs an evil possession" and Aronofsky offered us plenty of both.

  • Dec 22, 2010
This is not just a drama but also a horror. This is not just a horror but also a film noir. This is also an erotic monument to perfection. It's a clash of desire and obsession. This is easily one of the best movies in the last couple of years.

Living inside her own beautiful but terrifying world, this young ballerina named Nina (Natalie Portman), tries to find perfection by portraying the duplicitous swan queen in the play "Swan Lake". Perfection though, cannot be achieved only by sacrificing your body so she takes it one step further by letting herself go and choosing to sacrifice her mind also. Guided through her evolution as a professional dancer by her artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), she finds herself pushed over the limits and she jumps from her fragile and innocent look to a lusty and provocative shadow of herself. Problems occur when both her faces have to face Lily (Mila Kunis), another ballerina who finds herself in a violent competition for Nina's role in "Swan Lake". The powerful display of these two sides of the same coin is taking proportions when other factors like the authoritarian methods of Nina's mother to support her daughter through her career are revealed. "Black Swan", however, it's not just about some ballerina trying to find perfection by sacrifice but it's about the innocence and the lust, the confusion and the clarity, the strange and the usual, the chaos and the order, the manifest and the acceptance. Darren Aronofsky chose to explicitly explore an intriguing, erotic and passionate story that might both shock and please you at the same time. You will find yourself lost at one moment but all the answers given close to the end will reveal the harsh truth about the artistic behavior and sacrifice.

Few days ago I stated that Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" is a strong contender for the leading role at the Academy Awards but I must admit I might have rushed a little bit. Natalie Portman's dazzling and haunting performance as Nina is one of the best "back-to-back" portrayals I've seen in a long time. Her technique and bold approach of her characters is really inspiring. Every tear and every smile, every moment of relax and panic, each line she delivers makes you encourage her but also doubt her. Her mesmerizing portrayal is the result of not only high acting skills but also of a visionary direction. Mila Kunis as Lily delivers more than I expected. She's natural, honest and brutal, exactly what her character needed to look like. To complete this amazing cast you add some bohemian charm by taking Vincent Cassel to be the artsy director, Thomas Leroy.

The execution of this art-film is hauntingly perfect. Each scene, each close-take and each moment means or reveals something important for the denouement of this movie. The sound was terrifying. The "horroresque" show put on film by Darren is really scary at times and might change your perception of the surroundings in this movie. One little sound might change your mind about what's really happening or what the character is going through. Speaking of the sound, you must recognize the beautiful music added. The play is beautifully revealed at the end of the movie, backed by a gorgeous cinematography and you will not understand what hit you.

"Black Swan" is possibly Aronofsky's new masterpiece. I said new because I think "Requiem for a Dream" is one of the rare things in cinema also. "In order to exist, beauty needs an evil possession" and Aronofsky offered us plenty of both. We should thank such directors for being so passionate about their projects, we should thanks such actors like Natalie Portman that devote themselves entirely to the characters, we should take the whole team put together by Aronofsky in order to create such a tremendous work. This is definitely not a movie for everyone, like any another film crafted by the hands of Darren, but this is what we, cinephiles call, a uniquely cinematic experience. If it's not perfect than it's close to perfection.

Storyline/Dialogue: 9/10.
Acting: 10/10.
Art Direction: 8/10.
Cinematography/Editing: 10/10.
Score/Soundtrack: 9/10.
Overall: 9,3

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December 23, 2010
Nice review! I'll be watching Rabbit Hole this weekend!
More Black Swan (2010 film) reviews
review by . December 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 ½ Stars: Dancing With One's Own Personal Reflections....
Last time Darren Aronofsky impressed me this much was with the film “The Wrestler”; it was a cinematic experience that was filled with a methodical approach, careful calculation, character-driven dualism and compelling drama. Yes, admittedly I was excited to see his latest film “Black Swan” and it wasn’t anything I expected it to be and yet it became so much more. This film is tense, taut, filled with dramatic and horrific logic that will stay with you after the end …
review by . December 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Darren Aronofsky has achieved the impossible: he's made ballet cool. Seriously, get rid of the Best Film award and introduce the Made Something Cool That Was Hitherto Completely Uncool award, and then kick Guy Ritchie squarely in the unspeakables for making Sherlock Holmes.      First, he threw out all that ballet shoe shit and went straight for the jugular, combining Heath Ledger's Joker with Tyler Durden from Fight Club to give us "holy crap it's Natalie Portman": …
review by . January 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I don't admit to being a big Darren Aronosfky fan.  I enjoyed Pi and Requiem for a Dream, but he never became a director that I thought was worth putting on my radar.  He makes intriguing films to be certain, but Black Swan was the first time I saw one of his films and felt blown away by it.  Like I'd just sat through something magical, simple and yet very complex at the same time.  It has its moments where it goes overboard, scenes that go to extremes that, for the most …
review by . January 31, 2011
Ballet is an interesting activity. When done right, it can be mesmerizing and impressive as hell. The physical demands placed on the dancers are enormous (I recall reading a book that described ballet dancers as all being “half-crazed with hunger”), and I can only imagine how heavy the psychological burden must be, especially if you’re not the most stable person in the world to begin with. That’s situation in which a young dancer (Natalie Portman), finds herself in Black …
review by . January 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Haunted! HUNTED!
It’s no theatrical tricks but it certainly set the mood for the entire film. It’s seldom at first scene that I have an idea how to start a review, much less right at the very beginning of the show. Granted, I’ve read a couple of reviews here and there on this movie but I have managed to steer clear of knowing exactly what the movie entails. I know I don’t feel comfortable starting this movie, even though it has tempted me since I got hold of the dvd copy. I managed to steer …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I got this movie on DVD, which was good because even after you watch it, you need to go back and look at certain scenes again to try to determine if they were real or imagined. Portman is a profession ballet dancer vying for the starring role in a new version of Swan Lake in Lincoln Center. Portman is pushed forward by her domineering mother, who herself was a ballerina and keeps reminding Portman that she needed to retire at 28 to raise Portman.    Age is a continuing factor …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****       "Black Swan" is a paragon of psychological filmmaking; a wild melodrama, which was simply made for the sake of its own unique existence. The project was ambitious, and in some ways, I couldn't have seen it working. A film like this being this good just doesn't seem impossible, but then again, go ahead and try telling director Darren Aronofksy what's "impossible". I don't think that the man believes in the word. He's been making films for over …
review by . May 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
When i first saw the commericals for this movie it looked good, but then again its about ballet dancers....booooring right? WRONG! I was shocked and amazed at how much i liked this movie. It was enthralling, sexy, and at some points outright creepy. The movie starts off with Nina, a dancer in the new york ballet who is looking for her break into stardom after being out of the spotlight for several years with the company. When her boss announces that their current star will be retiring and he will …
review by . December 19, 2010
BLACK SWAN is the story of a ballerina driven to insanity by her drive to succeed and to be perfect. It's also one of the more purely fascinating movies of 2010. Natalie Portman gives the performance of her career as Nina, the dancer. Nina has been with the professional ballet company headed by Thomas (Vincent Cassel) for a number of years, and she's hoping this will be the year she gets a lead role. He's reviving SWAN LAKE, and needs a new White Swan/Black Swan. Nina is a technically proficient …
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Aronofky's Swan Dive
BLACK SWAN   Written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John J. McLaughlin   Directed by Darren Aronofsky   Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder      Thomas Leroy: Perfection is not just about control.  It is also about letting go.      From my understanding, to be a true ballerina, one must always strive for perfection.  Your toes, your torso, your lines must be just so.  …
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Julian Left ()
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About this movie


Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as ballet dancers in a New York City production of Swan Lake. The production requires a ballerina to play both the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan. Nina (Portman) fits for the White Swan, Lily (Kunis) fits for the Black Swan, and the two compete for the parts. Aronofsky and Portman first discussed the project in 2000, and after a brief attachment to Universal Pictures, Black Swan was produced in New York City in 2009 under Fox Searchlight Pictures. Notable figures from the ballet world helped with film production to shape the ballet presentation. The film is set to premiere as the opening film for the 67th Venice International Film Festival in September 2010. The film will have a limited release on December 1, 2010.

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Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: December 1st, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Protozoa Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Fox Searchlight
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