Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Kristin Hunt
    Jan 6, 2011
    100
    Just like the final performance by its deeply disturbed heroine, Black Swan is perfect.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 15, 2010
    100
    Artful, epic, operatic even, this thriller set in the world of ballet challenges the viewer with its intelligence and depth and wit.
  3. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 6, 2010
    100
    This eye-popping, inspired and often-demented (in a good way) cross between "The Red Shoes" and "All About Eve" channels horror maestros David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma and Dario Argento.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 6, 2010
    100
    One of the best movies of the year.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 6, 2010
    100
    To induce a state of dread and mesmerize with beauty is a rare, paradoxical achievement.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 6, 2010
    100
    Wild and woolly, the movie is a breathtaking head trip that hails from a long tradition of backstage melodramas: "42nd Street," "A Star Is Born," "All About Eve," and, yes, that kitschy '90s relic, "Showgirls."
  7. 100
    This is, no doubt about it, a tour de force, a work that fully lives up to its director's ambitions.
  8. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 6, 2010
    100
    Black Swan is visceral and real even while it's one delirious, phantasmagoric freakout.
  9. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Dec 10, 2010
    91
    Whether your tastes are delicate or coarse, whether you prefer the ballet or horror movies, there is plenty in the film for you.
  10. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Dec 6, 2010
    91
    A florid, often lurid, completely enthralling film held in place by a disarming Portman, who rarely leaves the frame.
  11. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 9, 2010
    90
    It's all or nothing with Black Swan. Either you embrace its headlong descent into madness brought on by the pressures of artistic perfection, compounded by smothering anxiety, or you reject it. It's that simple.
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 6, 2010
    90
    A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer's all-consuming ambition, Black Swan serves as a fascinating complement to Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler," trading the grungy world of a broken-down fighter for the more upscale but no less brutal sphere of professional ballet.
  13. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Dec 9, 2010
    89
    This drama-horror hybrid, set within a New York ballet company, strikes a tone more along the lines of the terrifying hallucinatories of Aronofsky's breakout film, "Requiem for a Dream," revisiting, too, favorite themes of monster mommies and female hysteria.
  14. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Dec 11, 2010
    88
    Black Swan is ridiculously over the top, but in a way that makes it fascinating to watch.
  15. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 6, 2010
    88
    A near-masterpiece of a film set in the hothouse world of New York ballet.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 6, 2010
    88
    Portman's portrait of an artist under siege is unmissable and unforgettable. So is the movie. You won't know what hit you.
  17. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 6, 2010
    88
    The look and feel of Black Swan, which captures the essence of a major New York ballet production, is one of Aronofsky's great successes.
  18. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 6, 2010
    88
    A full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 6, 2010
    88
    Is Black Swan high-minded? I'm happy to say: No. It is extremely high-grade hokum, which is to say it offers several different and combustible varieties.
  20. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 6, 2010
    83
    Lurid and voluptuous pulp fun, with a sensationalistic fairy-tale allure. You can't take it too seriously, but you can't tear your eyes away from it, either.
  21. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Jan 17, 2011
    80
    An extraordinary, intoxicating movie. Its hard, twisted edges may turn off some, but there's no faulting either Aronofsky's technical mastery or Portman's flawless performance.
  22. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    Both a baroque thriller set in New York's ballet demimonde and a portrait of artistry as schizoid perfectionism, Darren Aronofsky's new film percolates parallel lines of fine madness-but then, doubling down on duality is this movie's raison d'etre.
  23. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    A near-irresistible exercise in bravura absurdity, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan deserves to become a minor classic of heterosexual camp-at the very least, it's the most risible and riotous backstage movie since "Showgirls."
  24. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    Aronofsky isn't loose enough, or canny enough, to be in touch with its camp soul.
  25. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    A psychosexual thriller that lures its viewers into a woozy nightmare.
  26. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Dec 6, 2010
    80
    With Natalie Portman dominating the action and exhibiting a screen maturity not seen from her before, this all-stops-out Grand Guignol melodrama exhibits more than enough blood, sweat and tears (emphasis on the blood) to score nicely beyond the ballet crowd.
  27. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 17, 2010
    75
    Arriving with a savage grace, director Darren Aronofsky's nightmare-come-to-life Black Swan cements his reputation not only as one of the more daring filmmakers of his generation, but also as an actor's director of the first order.
  28. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Dec 16, 2010
    75
    Like all his (Aronofsky) films, it's lurid, visually stimulating, thoughtful, absurd in spots, well-cast and unrelentingly intense.
  29. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 15, 2010
    75
    Black Swan is a stage door melodrama putting new spins on cliches as old as "All About Eve" (and maybe Adam). Setting them among ballerinas as opposed to showgirls or movie stars doesn't make them any less familiar.
  30. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 6, 2010
    75
    It's excessive and psychologically imprecise, coarse where it should be refined and too much like a David Cronenberg horror movie in places where restraint and intellectual rigor are called for.
  31. 75
    Audaciously whacked-out and never less than entertaining, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan mixes a backstage dance drama with a Freudian psychological thriller that's indebted to Roman Polanski's studies of shattered feminine psyches and David Cronenberg's movies about repressed bodies in rebellion.
  32. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 6, 2010
    75
    Some girls fight over men. Ballerinas fight over parts. But the occasional brilliance of Black Swan is that it's a one-way fight. Nina battles herself.
  33. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 6, 2010
    70
    Aronofsky blurs the line between reality and fantasy, turning the film into a gothic horror show that is fascinating and disappointing in equal measure. What's resplendently real, though, is the beauty of Ms. Portman's performance. She makes the whole lurid tale worthwhile.
  34. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 6, 2010
    70
    The black/white duality isn't terribly interesting, but as in most of Aronofsky's films, an intense horror of the body and its uncontrollability fuels the rhapsodic psychodrama.
  35. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Dec 6, 2010
    65
    For all its dazzling allure, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, a feverishly psycho thriller set in the hermetic world of classical ballet, proves a meaningless exercise in Grand Guignol exhibitionism.
  36. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 6, 2010
    60
    Me, I'm of two minds about a movie that wants to be a nail-ripping thriller and a statement on an artist's unholy communion with her role. It's reminiscent of older, better movies.
  37. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 6, 2010
    50
    Portman toils slavishly to realize Aronofsky's mad vision. It isn't her fault that, despite Black Swan's visual splendor and bursts of grand guignol excess, this emotionally inert movie never does grow wings.
  38. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 6, 2010
    50
    This exercise in hysteria is so over the top that you don't know whether to scream or laugh. Despite an emotionally gripping performance by Natalie Portman, it's nothing more than a lavishly staged "Repulsion" in toe shoes.
  39. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 6, 2010
    42
    A love-it-or-hate-it movie. Put me in the (sort of) hate-it column. My slight qualification here is because Darren Aronofsky's movie starring Natalie Portman as an increasingly unhinged ballerina gets points for being unlike anything else that's out there.
  40. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Dec 6, 2010
    40
    Indeed, White Swan/Black Swan dynamics almost work, but the horror-movie nonsense drags everything down the rabbit hole of preposterousness.
  41. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Dec 6, 2010
    40
    Off the dance floor, however, Black Swan is trashy and incoherent. Aronofsky, for all his gifts, is a gaudy maestro, opportunistic and insecure as an artist.
  42. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 6, 2010
    30
    Not just any kind of trash, it's high-art trash, a kind of "When Tutu Goes Psycho" that so prizes hysteria over sanity that it's worth your life to tell when its characters are hallucinating and when they're not.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 899 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 258
  1. Dec 14, 2010
    10
    This is one of the best movies made in the past ten years. Its art is mesmerizing. Its entry into the psyche of Portman nearly singularly unique. Its portrayal of the relationships excellent, its moments of tenderness and want, concern and horror, worthy of almost any director. Over the years, we will see this film grow in stature. Its record twelve Broadcast Film Critics Association nominations are no mistake. Full Review »
  2. Sep 21, 2011
    9
    "Black Swan" is a fearless movie that unveils the psychological horror of perfectionism and observes the deepest, darkest personalities of mankind. All of this is created and formed with Keen, sensitive direction and a frightfully perfect performance from Natalie Portman (as expected, she won a Oscar for her performance). Ultimately, this masterpiece is a beautiful dark twisted movie you must, and will watch. Full Review »
  3. Dec 29, 2010
    5
    Lets be honest, in 5 years time people are not going to be looking back saying " wow, remember that movie Black swan? It was amazing!!!" Nope, Once it has finished surfing its current 'hype' wave, it will sit among the 'pretty good' movies of 2010! Ill give credit where its due, Natalie Portman gives so much of herself that you wonder what depths she went too to portray this tortured soul...She is absolutely spellbinding. The Director 'Darren Aronofsky' however holds the reigns as best he can, but with such a bleak pallet and morbid tone, his raw technique, digs deeper than it needs and seems lost in its own pretensions. The Final 20 minutes however are breathtaking, with all the forgotten loose ends brought together in a truly operatic finale. To be fair maybe it needs another viewing to fully appreciate its complexities, but the thing is, " I don't want to watch it again"!! Full Review »