User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 906 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 70 out of 906

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  1. Jan 16, 2011
    There are very disturbing sequences throughout this film of putrefying flesh and violated bodies, and these images do not make sense, either psychologically or artistically. They are simply the usual manipulations of the audience employed by almost all films of the horror genre. Such images play upon the morbid fascination that one feels when considering the loss of something that one considers to be essential to one's being, like a leg, or one's flesh, or one's face, or one's eyes. Not even one of the characters is truly nurturing of either art or of the human beings who make it. Even the mother of the lead character is revealed to be a falsely nurturing figure. If that were true in real life, then there would be no art at all. The movie left me with a feeling of dread that took several hours to overcome. Expand
  2. Dec 12, 2010
    This movie is a horror flick and is not worth the money to see it. The story and script are terrible. Perhaps the acting is good, but it is wasted on this terrible horrific film. Save your time and money and skip this one.
  3. Feb 2, 2011
    Portman sports a worried grimace through the entire movie, making the ending more of a relief than a climax. Should have been called The Emperor's New Tutu.
  4. Dec 20, 2010
    Considering all the laudatory reviews and the number of 10 ratings one might assume a masterpiece had birthed. Alas not for this viewer. Natalie did a fine job, no problem there, but talk about an overwrought Polanski rip-off. If this is masterful film making today, I'm depressed. It had the makings of an interesting, dramatic thriller. But where was the subtlety, the craft of a work that gradually seduces you. Not here. I'm only seen a couple major reviewers that have really questioned the artfulness of this project. I felt like I had been hammered by it. It was so over the top. Expand
  5. Dec 31, 2010
    Very Disappointed in this movie. Yes the dancing and the Photography is good, but it takes a lot more then that to make an interesting movie. My group found the movie tiring and the ending predictable. The idea that anyone would cast such a fragile, timid ballerina in the lead of a major production of Swan Lake in one of the world's premiere ballet companies is laughable. Dancing required hard work and discipline. As the movie states, it is a very competitive art. I do not think this character, who still sleeps in a room that was designed for a three year old would have ever made it past her first three years of dance, much less make it to stardom. She would have "cracked up" years and years before. I have read the other reviews and "know where they were going"...I just don't think they ever got there. Expand
  6. Jan 5, 2011
    I heard great reviews about this movie so I expected to see a great movie about the ballet Swan Lake. The movie started with camera work I would have expected from an amateurish 8th grader holding the camera for the first time. It was shaky, forcefully zoomed in, and did not capture the mood of an ballet. After the terrible camera work hit me I was forced into the overworked tense scene where everything they tried to place in a scene that would scare her just seemed funny. The dream sequences which were not dream sequences left me asking who asking who came up with this script and you need to pick a genre and stick to it. Finally while things like costumes and acting were amazing, the directing was terrible and ruined what could have been a great movie.

    I go to art school and saw it with my art school friends, unless you are a pretentious art school kid, skip this movie. As a man, even the lesbian scene was just sad and I kind of laughed through most of it due to just how unrealistic this movie is. I can't really find a group of people to recommend this to. I know girls who have done Ballet and yes they are stressed but do not have mental issues like she does. Just generally a bad movie...
  7. Jan 10, 2011
    As I was watching "Black Swan," I started counting the times the camera lingered on Natalie Portman staring pointlessly at herself in a mirror and lost count at eight billion. Guess that means I'm not one of the many crying "bravo" for this film. I love Vincent Cassel, but here he's wasted as one more catalyst for the flowering of Natalie Portman's neurosis into capital-A Art. It's interesting to me that Winona Ryder showed up as the has-been dancer because Portman seemed to base her character on the timid mental patient Ryder played in "Girl, Interrupted" (watchable only for Angelina Jolie's much more dynamic sociopath). The difference here is that we experience manifestations of Portman's disintigration and are clearly supposed to wonder whether she is, in fact, being sabotaged. That would be the thriller part. But it's evident from the first 10 minutes of the movie that this chick is way too screwed up for anyone to bother sabotaging; all an intelligent rival would have to do is stand around, smoke a cigarette or two, and wait for her to self-destruct. So "thrills," for me, along with surprises, were in pretty short supply. I was mildly interested in how she'd finally sex up her Black Swan (hint: no sex involved) but rolled my eyes when it finally happened. I'm happy for all the people who swooned with delight at this film, but I was definitely not one of them. Plusses: some nice dancing. Vincent Cassel putting the mack on Portman then walking off in disgust. Barbara Hershey's scary facelifts finally used to advantage. Expand
  8. Dec 18, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Spoilers!!! Not that much of the plot revealed below would be surprising after watching the first 10 minutes of the film. 1. The premise is flawed. Why would they select such a spiritless, vapid, flat emotional wreck to carry Swan Lake.

    2. Natalie Portman's performance is spiritless, vapid and flat for 90% of the movie and laughably over the top for the remainder. Though the laugh factor is not entirely her fault, because....

    3. The forced combination of surrealism and melodrama provided by the script and Aronofsky's direction would be hilarious if it wasn't so embarrassing.

    4. At least Showgirls had nudity and memorable one-liners.

    5. I'm sure Aronofsky and whoever wrote this has seen The Piano Teacher and that pisses me off, because both movies include:

    a. A sexually and emotionally constricted woman that trains vigorously in a performance art

    b. a disturbingly intimate relationship with a mother who is overbearing

    c. a closing shot of the lead having stabbed themselves at one of their performances

    6. Even the frequent masturbation scenes and casual lesbianism that was included to keep straight guys like my brother interested in the movie was unsuccessful. According to my brother, these ladies are thin and gross.

    7. The frequent shifts in what is real and what is a hallucination is tiring and I eventually lost interested in telling the two apart, thus making me indifferent to what was I assume meant to be a tragic ending.

    8. Aronofsky put me in the uncomfortable position of feeling bad for laughing when other people might not have realized how stupid this movie is.

    9. This movie sucked.

    10. My brother may never trust me to choose a movie ever again. Here is my brother's two word review of the movie: **** Swan.

  9. Jan 2, 2011
    Lame and boring. How can I use 150 characters to say this movie was lame and boring? Until the last 20 minutes, I was really wanting to just leave before I fell asleep. And I really went in expecting to be impressed. Maybe it's aimed at the artsy, NYC theater crowds. But here in Texas it just falls flat. And this was from the general consensus of the people we talked when leaving the theater. Lame and Boring. Unless you live in NYC and have a thing for Ballet, skip this one Expand
  10. Jan 4, 2011
    Unbelievably trashy. A cross between Polanski's Repulsion, Carrie and everything done by Cronenberg. But unfortunately done by all the above much better. A boring, repulsive, claustrophobic experience with a courageous, yet artificial performance by Portman. I never believed for a minute that she was the obsessed, naive and sheltered character she was playing. And this whole nonsense that all she needed was a good orgasm to perform the Black Swan with passion was too much. And was the lesbian sex scene really necessary? Expand
  11. Jan 29, 2011
    Ridiculous pap geared to 13 yr olds. The whole deal was idiotic, all geared to how they could get the next gruesome special effect or soft-porn scene into the flick.

    Give Nat Portman credit, she never seemed to act like she knew she was in a ridiculous movie, give her an academy nod for that.
  12. Dec 6, 2010
    I did not enjoy watching this movie and I would not see it again. I had two serious issues with it: (1) the premise that an emotional lightweight could get the lead role of Swan Lake in one of the world's premiere ballet companies and (2) the overuse of stock surprise elements -- over and over and over again to the point of distraction (and exhaustion). The basic story line is good and interesting, and some performances were very, very strong (especially Mila Kunis'). That said, the overall execution was very disappointing. Expand
  13. Dec 21, 2010
    This movie's plot was thin and played out in a shocking and gruesome way. Come on folks, give the viewer a little more credit for taste and intelligence.
  14. Jan 12, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Black Swan makes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 look like best picture of the year--I say this because I thought the Potter movie just might be the worst movie of 2010. To my surprise, and dismay, that is not the case. There's an even worse film: Black Swan. It takes itself so seriously--We're making Art here, people!--that I wished I was watching ballet and not this movie. I hate ballet and this movie made me want to watch ballet. That's how bad this movie is. Watching ballet would have been more entertaining, more fun, and for more original than this insipid meat cleaver to the face--thirty seconds into the movie and it's clear that Natalie Portman's character is madder than a hatter and there the guesswork ends; the conspicuous meat cleaver has split your face in two, but does director Aronofsky stop there? Nope. His disgust for subtlety (of any kind) knows no bounds, or shame. He wants us to be so sure that Portman is madder than a hatter that he meat cleavers us in the face over and over: She's madder than a hatter! It's all in her head! Get it? Yes, Darren Aronofsky, I got it thirty seconds into the movie when the first meat cleaver got me square between the eyes, thank you very much. This movie is so bloody obvious that I began to wonder if Aronofsky simply doesn't want his audience to use their brains while watching one of his art house movies. (We're making Art here, people, and curing cancer!) Is he so threatened by someone else's interpretation that he leaves no possible room for interpretation? Is that the reason for the meat cleavers to the face, Darren? If true, I'd argue Aronofsky's got some issues that he might want to take up with his urologist. There isn't an original moment in this predictable, so-called disturbing movie. Disturbing? It's disturbing that Black Swan was so bad it made me want to watch ballet! To make matters worse, (if that's possible, and dear God in heaven, it is), there isn't a likeable character in the entire film. Now, there's nothing in filmmaking 101 that says you have to have a likeable character in your movie, but basic storytelling will tell you that if you want your audience to connect in a way that matters, a likeable character might be a good idea. In the very least, have an unlikable character find some kind of redemption at the end so that the audience will feel emotionally satisfied. In Black Swan, every character is not only an obvious stereotype, they're repugnant. (When Barbara Hershey came in as the evil ballet stage mother, I thought I was watching bad satire.) I was like, well, geez, I can't stand these people, I have no hope for them, it's clear there is no hope for them because they're all crazy, so why do I care what happens to them at the end? It isn't my fault that I felt this way. It's Darren Aronofsky's fault. When the end did finally come (thank God), was I surprised, shocked, horrified, confused, sad? No! I just wanted to get out of the theatre and see some ballet! And this brings me to Natalie Portman's brave acting job: Brave because she lets a hot chick go down on her and shows us her orgasm face. Wow, that takes some talent. (Porno stars do it all the time, but they're professionals so they make it look easy.) Halle Berry did the same thing for Monster's Ball, and she did it better, longer and with Billy Bob Thorton--now that's what I call brave!--and at least Halle showed some boob. All we get in Black Swan is Portman's worried orgasm face. Of course, she'll be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress (because she was so brave--We're making Art here, people, curing cancer and bringing peace to the world!) The Academy did the same thing to Halle, but Hollywood has a tradition of rewarding actresses who show us their orgasm faces in movies. Put a famous actress in a movie where a guy or girl goes down on her and she shows us her orgasm face and you can be sure she'll receive a nomination. Most of the time, they don't do that for the men. (Sean Penn got an Academy Award for MILK, but he didn't show us his orgasm face or go down on a guy in the movie, so it doesn't count.) It's usually just the ladies. Hollywood's orgasm face double-standard, like this typical Hollywood movie: A steaming pile of hubristic crap.

    My rating: Six Irish Carbombs and a Mind Eraser shooter, and a ticket to the ballet.
  15. Jan 17, 2011
    Surprisingly one dimensional and lacking in heart, especially when compared to Aronofky's The Wrestler from a year ago which I thought was superb. Natalie Portman was good, as was most of the other acting, but the movie as a whole did not make me care at all.
  16. Jan 19, 2011
    This is one of the worst movies made in the past 10 years. After all the buzz, my wife and I had hyped up hopes that were dashed halfway through this wannabe psycho-thriller. It's one of those movies in which, at the end, when you expect to have this "aha" moment that gives some measure of clarity or answers ... you see the beginning of the film credits. We expected a sophisticated, sexy thriller ... we got a goofy movie with a few titillating scenes with Portman squirming on a bed. Expand
  17. Jan 31, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Was I trippin on acid? This movie is a mess!!! a weak storyline, and average acting does not a Oscar make!!! I know some of you fan boys loved to hot **** scene but I though it was a little tasteless.....wait....or did it really happen!!! who knows, who cares! I give this movie 2 thumbs down!!! Expand
  18. Feb 2, 2011
    Way over hyped.

    Natilie Portman acts in a movie that is both bland and banal.

    I am amazed at the ridiculously high scores from the luvvie film reviewers.
  19. Feb 4, 2011
    As someone who has been involved with ballet both as an aspiring dancer and an administrator I was looking for ward to this film with great anicipation, particularly considering the overall glowing reviews. It took about five minutes to dissolve. The rest of the time watching this film was utterly painful and a complete waste of time. An idiotic plot without drama (in spite of the gory blood and explicit sex), stereotypical characters, wooden acting and ridiculous attempts at making Natalie Portman look like a dancer. She does, when standing still, having achieved the required amaciated look but nothing more. Her very beautiful face is in every scene - but after a while even the most gorgeous looks become tedious, especially if it only has the one static expression of a stunned rabbit cought in the spotlight.
    The film offers no subtelty, no mystery, no suspense. It's boring and predictable, confirming all existing prejudices that surround ballet. It doesn't even show any interesting dancing .An utterly dull film that makes a mockery of the art form that it sets out to portray. Stay away!
  20. Feb 5, 2011
    I had been wary going to see this film after reviewers who I would generally trust had been greatly unimpressed by it, but as a big fan of Requiem for a dream I still had hopes. I had read that as a description of the ballet world it was full of clichés, but this did not concern me, as it was not intended to be one. What did, was that as a portrayal of anything faintly human, there was nothing but ridiculous pastiches of human beings. The premise of the film is the extreme suffering and destructive forces a person must endure to achieve their artistic goals. While there is truth in the idea that one must suffer for their art, or to excel in anything, this idea is explored in a crude and superficial way. Black Swan trades on a romanticized view of the 'high art' ballet world, and on the idea of the mysterious and mad artist perusing perfection at the expensive of their sanity. This is itself just another cliché, and an approach that makes the most of the cultural myth of the tortured and illusory artist engrossed in an exotic and unhinged life. While this idea may be seductive to some judging from the many favourable reviews, if you are not sucked in by the shallow illusion, all that is left is affected banality. In time I think this film will come to be seen in a less favourable light. Expand
  21. Feb 6, 2011
    Neither fish nor fowl-"Black Swan" neither surprises nor probes the mind of its would-be tragic heroine. The theme of the young femme lost in an exhibitionistic/voyueristic art-world, beset by a husky voiced rival, willing to do everything it takes among the casting couch set - and then some, has been done before and much better. Take it from this man raised in a ballet family, see "Show Girls" for the real deal! Ironically, that piece of high-brow trash was the one critics loved to loath - which I take, as here, a mark of the nebbish anti-sexual nerdosity of the average film reviewer. In short, "Black swan" is predictable and boring, while "Show Girls" still delivers the devilish thrills and erotic chills Swan is wan to do. Expand
  22. Feb 20, 2011
    Histrionic and overly-dramatic movie full of smoke and mirrors, with nothing new to reveal. Natalie Portman, a fine actress, is tearful and earnest. Since the film is all from her POV we never know when she's hallucinating. Perhaps the overbearing mother is a total hallucination as well. Perhaps the whole ballet company is a hallucination.
    Seriously, what Martin Scorsese did in a similar
    over-the top vein in Shutter island still contained a surprise at the end, which gave context to the horrific and strange events the main character experienced. But where's the surprise in seeing Portman going slowly crazy. Not to mention that Aronofsky himself is totally mired in the Madonna-whore complex, seemingly unable to portray a woman realistically. Expand
  23. Feb 20, 2011
    To be honest, I was very disappointed by this movie. When I saw the previews, I really wanted to see it. It looked like a film that dealt with the trials and tribulations of perfectionism, masochism, and mental illness. It did deal with all three of those issues but in an extremely slow and unexciting way. I did not connect with any of the characters and the ending was no surprise. Because there was no connection made with Natalie Portman's character, I didn't even feel bad for her in the ending. Honestly, I was just glad the movie was over and was grabbing my coat the second she made the jump. Expand
  24. Feb 22, 2011
    i dont understand why natalie portman is getting such rave reviews(dancing aside).. she either cried or hyperventilated for 2 hours thats it ... i had more questions than answers by the end of that movie, for all the hype was i was very disappointed. a
  25. Feb 26, 2011
    get to work and stop dancing like a baby! dumb ****
    get to work and stop dancing like a baby! dumb ****
    get to work and stop dancing like a baby! dumb ****
  26. Jan 23, 2011
    Really one of the worst movies of 2010. Pointless and dull, movie felt like a soft porno. This movie will only get little virgins excited about the sex scenes. This is not art.
  27. Feb 13, 2011
    Who wrote this crap?!! What an objectionable, cluttered, incoherent, sophomoric mess. Give me "Repulsion", "The Tenant" or "Gaslight" instead of this pretentious, infantile drivel.
  28. Feb 22, 2011
    Awful movie! I almost walked out like half the audience! What were the critics thinking? Ok, she does a decent acting job but 80% of the movie is nothing but pure PORN! if that's what you're looking for then enjoy. Personally I had no desire to see girl on girl and other sexual acts on a large screen. Trailers & movie description VERY MISLEADING. I left wanting my money and sense of decency back.
  29. Apr 10, 2011
    Boring and disturbing. Could not even finish it. I do not qualify insanity and boarder line porn ART. This movie was so uncorfortable that we decided to not put ourselves through any more torture.
  30. Jul 4, 2011
    A lite porno with a tacked on story line that was as "thrilling" as watching a silent horror movie from the silent movie era where the only sound was that of a piano being played to enhance the viewers mood during those otherwise silent screenings. Except this movie doesn't have that piano to enhance the mood. The only disturbing sound throughout this entire movie is that of a protagonist that, when speaking, stuck out like a broken, ill confident little child. Would this kind of character ever get to be the star of a leading production ballet company? I don't even hardly think so.

    If the protagonist in this movie were to have been, from the start, an over confident and obnoxious character that slowly descended into madness then this would have been much more thrilling. Instead the meek and clueless character gets a little less meek and a little less clueless and then completely breaks. Bearing in mind that the impact of this break might be equally reflected by an egg cracking on the floor after having been accidentally dropped, not thrown. Not a very surprising result, really.

    The actors made a valiant attempt at playing the characters that they were assigned. It's just a shame that the characters were all bland.

    This film gets 2 points from me. The lite and brief porn scene at least made me sit up straight in my chair and grabbed my attention that little bit more for those few, undeserving seconds.
    If you're a fan of ballet then you might appreciate the behind-the-scenes drama this film shows. If you're not a fan of ballet then I would suggest you look elsewhere for a thrilling time.
  31. Mar 30, 2011
    I understand what this film tried to do and what direction it took and why. But i couldn't help but feel so bored throughout all this film.

    It's a love hate thing. Natalie Portman takes up so much of this film, if you don't like her character you won't like this film. Which i didn't.
  32. Apr 17, 2011
    Utter self indulgent crap... I wish Aronofsky would switch it up a bit. Same old drivel. If you really insist on watching someone unhinging, watch Roman Polanski's Repulsion. Oh Darren why don't you go out and have some fun the world isn't gloomy 24/7 as it is in yours. But whatever you do don't try comedy I couldn't stand waiting 5 minitues for each punchline.
  33. Apr 22, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really disliked this movie. I really don't understand how people can give this a good rating. Maybe it's just the men who are voting. Men who like to see Natalie and Mila gettin' it on. Black Swan was probably the scariest movie that I have seen in theaters. I warn all- do not see this movie with your parents or relatives. I was just begging for the movie to end. It was too intense for me, and for what? So the audience could see someone hallucinate and fall to their death? Not my kind of story. I'm not saying that every story must have a magical, happy ending. I'm not saying that by any means. But Black Swan had no substance or purpose. All I could see what a crazy girl getting molested every five minutes. I don't mean to ramble, but no one see this movie. Save your sanity. Expand
  34. May 29, 2011
    Absolute garbage. ...........................................................................................................................................................
  35. May 31, 2011
    I am deeply confused by Black Swan. On one hand it is an astonishing mix of twists and turns, displaying the very essence of madness and obsession. But it has quite a flaw. When I watch a film I feel for the characters. Whether its because I hate them or love them, I become attached and care about what happens to them. In Black Swan, I never really cared what happened to the characters. The director has created abominations. Extremely talented acting, but each portrayed in such a way as you cannot become attached to them. In it's main box office rival, the Kings Speech, I was infatuated by all the characters. For good or ill, i wanted to see what happened. In Black Swan, I was left un-moved. Expand
  36. Jun 20, 2011
    After seeing this movie (And really looking forward to it) to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I really don't understand what all the fuss was about. I can say that I am happy I didn't spend money watching it at the cinemas, and only ended up wasting a few bucks on this load of disjointed tripeat the video store. I could also understand why fellow nominees at the oscars could feel ripped off that Portman scored an oscar for this, in what can only be described as an over-acted, predictable performance. A sad hollywood attempt at what would have been much better left to an arthouse cinema. Bad plot, bad acting, deplorable ending, can't believe I stuck with it. Don't waste your hard earned on this one folks! Expand
  37. Jan 8, 2013
    I disliked the main character, it isn't inspirational, it doesn't teach you anything, it isn't funny, most of the characters are empty, and it is a sexist movie, what a waste, it deserves a 0 out of 10.
  38. Mar 17, 2013
    a pathetic man's fantasy combined with tricks to convince commercial retards that they're watching an intellectually challenging drama full of culture. Overly dramatic, poorly scripted,a used up ridiculous plot and zero entertainment. It was like watching a cheap street drug addicted prostitute wearing plastering cosmetics in her effort to look beautiful. Or college kids wearing trendy glasses, woolly scarves and holding a copy of War and Peace whilst secretly reading Twilight. Expand
  39. Dec 19, 2012
    This is the most OVERRATED movie of 2010, it has pretty bad picture, the story was kind of interesting but at the same time it make me think that it was just someone's wet dream brought to the big screen. It has a very bad ending too. Couldn't see the artistic part of the movie. But it may be a good option to watch on a weekend if you couldn't find anything else on the T.V.
  40. Mar 29, 2013
    sorry to break it to you fan boys but this movie is overrated the story is confusing Natalie Portman performance was solid but that can be said about anyone that will take her part in the movie the writing was awkward and don't even get me started on the homosexual parts of the movie.
  41. Jul 21, 2013
    First take a five gallon bucket. Add stinky rotted vagina slime and some diarrhea together and stir in the bucket.
    Next take out your wiener and urinate into that bucket lightly covering the diarrhea and vagina slime.
    Meanwhile ask several of your friends over and have them all take turns pinching huge massive loafs into the bucket. When they are done stir up the mixture with a tree
    branch while adding six to seven old stinky rotted oysters. Continue stirring while you extract the pound of sausage you've been storing up inside of your own anus or sphincter or butt hole and place it into the mixture. Then rocket squirt your own diarrhea into the bucket followed by seventeen cups of acid filled vomit. Mix that all together and then let it bake in the sun for approximately 2 hours. After that let it sit outside on your porch to rot for about 3 weeks. When you return and look into the bucket you will see that this mixture has turned into the movie BLACK SWAN Expand

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: Dan Jolin
    Jan 17, 2011
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Kristin Hunt
    Jan 6, 2011
    Just like the final performance by its deeply disturbed heroine, Black Swan is perfect.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 17, 2010
    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.