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Black Swan (2010)

A 2010 psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky.

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'Black Swan' Nears Perfection!

  • May 22, 2011
Rating:
+5

Billed a “psychological thriller,” Black Swan is a satisfying cinematic voyage that skillfully weaves its story about artistic ambition and perfection combined with the quest for human identity challenged by treachery.

Natalie Portman plays an aspiring young ballerina, Nina Sayers, who is nurtured and controlled by her jealous mother (Barbara Hershey). Her iron rod director, Leroy (Vincent Cassel) challenges her to “let go” her inhibitions and become the “Black Swan,” the counterpart stage ego that contrasts the perfection of the “White Swan” role (His rendition of ‘Swan Lake’) . There are genuine aspirations he has for her professionally, but there are also pressures to give into his sexual advances. As she sees an aging star retire [Winona Ryder] for professional reasons as well as her fading prowess, Nina takes the stage front and center with formidable challenges.

Besides coming to terms with the demands of a duo stage identity and the rigors of any dance repertoire, Nina faces a jealous nemesis in Lily (Mila Kunis), a frenemy whose intentions at first seems to be as plain as the nose on one’s face. Yet curiosity and a compelling attraction keep this relationship from going adrift. Is Nina merely naïve or is it a compelling attraction? At least caught between the web of two controlling elements, Lily offers a new alternative from her mother’s oppressive apron strings. In the end, Nina becomes her own biggest challenge as she juggles all these daunting changes put forth in her life.

We’ve seen this journey before, but seldom in this fluid a fashion. As has been said endlessly before, the distance between a performer’s role and personal life (and the lines between reality and those roles) become blurred. Director Darren Aronofsky and screenwriters Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz keep us intrigued about all these characters, especially Nina, until the final frame. The editing is flawless, providing a seamless presentation of a consciousness close to the brink of insanity and the pressures coming from all her significant others.

Without too much annoying ambiguity, but also with enough substance ’til the final curtain call, Black Swan is a tightly knit thriller and one of the most satisfying movie experiences to be found in many months.

(Credits taken from IMDB)

'Black Swan' Nears Perfection! 'Black Swan' Nears Perfection! 'Black Swan' Nears Perfection! 'Black Swan' Nears Perfection!

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May 23, 2011
nice work, such a concise, informative, fun review to read. Glad you liked the movie!
May 23, 2011
Thanks, Woopak, I really tried to be concise with the plot this time. I"m glad that Aranofsky didn't choose to do a "director's cut," which can be tedius and less effective. He really made a tight movie with such a great (Oscar winning) talent in Natalie Portman. Cheers, JP :>)
 
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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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John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #35
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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Wiki

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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Details

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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