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Black Swan (2010)

A 2010 psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky.

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A Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22

  • Jul 24, 2010
I really cannot wait for this film. Like all of Aronofsky's films so far, I'm sure that this one will be just as creative, powerful, visually stunning, and well-acted. The idea of Aronofsky setting a psychological thriller around a ballet sounds intriguing. And hey, I'll watch anything with Natalie Portman.


Now, after all the months and months of waiting, I've finally seen Black Swan. Unsurprisingly (when one considers my expectations of the director and the cast) I was little let down. This had nothing to do with the acting, which was superb, or the overall story. Rather, I felt a little cheated by Darren Aronofsky's heavy-handed use of visual metaphors as a way to give insight into the main character's mental state. It's clear that in Natalie Portman's character we are dealing with someone who has a repressed dark side, but do we need her mother there constantly treating her like a child to emphasize her inability to mature? Do we need multiple scenes of her having delusional episodes in which she believes that she or someone else has inflicted bodily harm upon themselves only to discover that obviously these are hallucinations? Do we need repetitive shots of broken mirrors, double-takes of Portman as she sees her own face in the faces of others as she walks by in order to explain that she has a fragmented personality?
No, all of this is overkill and much of it comes off as a cheap and somewhat exploitative attempt at creating a belief in the audience that perhaps there is some supernatural or conspiratorial explanation for what's going on. I think that in American cinema of the last forty to fifty years, we've experienced a sort of expressionist revival where instead of displaying the complexities of the psyche through performance or through dialogue, we are instead given physical manifestations of the character's psyche and their emotional condition. In this case, Portman's character externalizes her paranoia and fear of not being strong enough, so that we see her repressed sexuality emerge quite literally in the form of a new woman. We also get numerous displays of seeming self-mutilation and grotesque deformation (from the rash on her back that turns out to be the imaginary growing of feathers to the episodes in which her skin peels away after she tries to pull off a hangnail). Okay, we get it, she's a perfectionist with a repressed libido complex and a tendency towards self-destruction. Now, if this had been approached in a different angle, it might have worked. But when one looks at Aronofsky's films (all of which deal with humanity's nature to destroy oneself) then the so-called twists of this film feel not only obvious but gimmicky.
Predictability and symbolism aside, the film is still actually quite good. As I mentioned earlier, the performances are all amazing, the script is strong and provocative, and the dance choreography is stunningly gorgeous. Does the film merit the praise it has been given -- absolutely. But I feel that if you see it, do not, do not compare it with Aronofsky's other works or view the film as part of a whole as such a viewing would diminish the abrupt and disturbing qualities of the story.
Natalie Portman as a black swan
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December 04, 2010
WP just reviewed this, and it sounds good like I thought it would be.
July 31, 2010
Sso what do you know about this flick?
July 31, 2010
It's a psychological thriller / melodrama about two rival ballerinas in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", it stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, and is directed by Darren Aronofsky. It should be released this Autumn. What more do I need to know? I'm sold.  ; )
August 01, 2010
There's got to be more to it than that since it's Aronofsky. We'll just have to see I guess.
August 01, 2010
Well, not necessarily. On the most basic level, "Pi" was about the dissolution of the facade of order, "Requiem for a Dream" was about addiction and self-destructive tendencies in humanity, "The Fountain" was about the desire to possess and control life because of an unwillingness to let go, "The Wrestler" was about the dualistic ways in which contemporary society brings about our own demise by encouraging the ego and condoning exploitative entertainment. I'd say this is quite simply about the clash of wills.
December 04, 2010
Just dropped a review for it.
December 04, 2010
I know.
December 04, 2010
I wouldn't say that his work is exactly superficial.
December 05, 2010
Have you seen "Black Swan" yet, Queenie?
December 05, 2010
No. Probably won't for at least a week.
December 05, 2010
I hope our theatre actually gets this one. Other than "The Wrestler", they haven't shown any of Aronofsky's films and I'd prefer to see it on a big screen with a full audience.
December 05, 2010
Wow. That IS Hicksville.
December 06, 2010
Told ya. We really don't even get films unless they're big-budget spectacles, romantic comedies, cartoons, sports movies, horror, or action. You'd have to drive about an hour away to see a real documentary, independent or foreign film.
December 15, 2010
where the Queen at?!
December 15, 2010
Aye, where is her regal highness, Queen o' the B Flix?!
December 16, 2010
I was chained to my computer screen trying to stream as many of Shahrukh Khan's older films as I could. Even the highly rated ones have been becoming "unavailable" at an alarming rate lately. And you know they're close to 3 hourse each so that adds up to a lot of movie time.
December 17, 2010
We just rented "My Name Is Khan". Thought you'd be happy about that.
December 18, 2010
Will that be your second or third SRK flick?
December 18, 2010
December 18, 2010
Not the best place to start.
December 18, 2010
Not a lot of options. The rental places around here don't carry Bollywood films and it was the only film that they had at the library.
December 18, 2010
ASOKA was so easy to find. Every Blockbuster carried it.
December 20, 2010
We don't have a Blockbuster. Never did. We had a Movie Gallery with a crappy selection and then the ended up closing because NetFlix was wiping them out.
December 20, 2010
It's becoming more unbelievably hick by the minute!
December 20, 2010
You've no idea. : (
December 20, 2010
I'm beginning to see that.
January 31, 2011
I saw it. Did you?
January 31, 2011
Yeah. I saw it about a week ago with my daughter...she still hasn't forgiven me for that.
February 01, 2011
What did you think?
February 16, 2011
It was disappointing--and my daughter still hasn't forgiven me for making her see it.
July 24, 2010
yup..I'll watch anything with Portman....even Disney's rendition of Thor. I have to look for the trailer again. Hey, I saw someone has Hercules under sci-fi...what do you think? Seen Inception yet?
July 24, 2010
Hercules is pure fantasy and mythology (we are talking about the 1990s Kevin Sorbo show, right?). Nope, I plan on heading to the theatre for a double feature tomorrow.
July 24, 2010
guess who has the Disney animated Hercules under his sci-fi col? :)
July 24, 2010
He can have it, that movie was terrible. : )
July 24, 2010
yeh...I was also having a discussion with one of my buds whether Inception was a strong sci-fi or more of a dark fantasy.
July 24, 2010
Natalie Portman was delicious in Closer.
July 24, 2010
Yeah about Portman. I haven't seen "Inception" yet, but it appears to be more sci-fi than fantasy from what I know.
July 24, 2010
Oh, and as far as "Black Swan" goes, you can count on a review from me when it gets released.
July 25, 2010
well, for me, Inception is more a dark fantasy with a small injection of sci-fi; it deals mostly with the state of dreams and minds of its characters. After all, the rules are in the psyche and not at the science behind it. The science was barely explained. I hope you see it. Black Swan is definitely something for you to review.
December 15, 2010
check out Sam's QT of this film. :)
January 31, 2011
Finally saw it. I updated my QT. Let me know what you think...
January 31, 2011
hm, interesting...but those things you didn't like were the stuff that made it brilliant. I do agree that some parts was heavy-handed, but reflections and the others you mentioned were essential to get its point across. Well, I love symbolisms and I loved the way it made me question several realities in the film; but to each his own I guess.
February 01, 2011
I think had the hallucinations been implied rather shown in the first half of the film, it would have made a huge difference. I also think that the film was missing one last shot in the end, but I don't want to reveal what it was or it kind of gives away the story.
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 . March 16, 2011
Black Swan is a wonderful movie, although it is definitely not for everyone. I know I am also late jumping on this bandwagon, seeing as the Oscars are over, but I had to state my claim and wait for my mum's permission to watch it. But waiting was definitely worth it, because Black Swan is a terrific movie. Wonderfully acted, wonderfully directed, and wonderfully intense, if you were expecting an ordinary movie about ordinary ballerinas, then this isn't the movie for you. Instead, its …
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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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Best Picture Nominees 2011


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"Aronofky's Swan Dive"
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