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Generally favorable reviews- based on 887 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 69 out of 887

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  1. Dec 14, 2010
    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. Expand
  2. Sep 21, 2011
    "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. Expand
  3. Dec 21, 2010
    If 'Black Swan' was directed by David Fincher, it would be called 'Ballet Club,' and it would be a thematic sequel to 'Fight Club.' However, it wasn't directed by Fincher, but instead by Darren Aronofsky, which explains why it is probably the most well-directed movie of the year. I can't say that it is the best film of the year, which I believe is 'The Social Network' because it is both good and culturally relevant, but Aronofsky's skill is at its peak in 'Black Swan,' and it sure is something to marvel. I believe Aronofsky exquisitely directed the most perfectly structured and beautifully told story of any film I have seen this year. I still give major props to Fincher, as well as David O Russell ('The Fighter') and Christopher Nolan ('Inception'). Natalie Portman steals the screen for the majority of the film, brilliantly portraying the fragile ballerina Nina Sayers. After winging the role of the Swan Queen in the upcoming show of the popular Swan Lake dance, Nina struggles to move out of the shadow of her nutty, sheltering mother, while rejecting the sexual advances and dark nature of her extremely professional instructor, all the while preparing for a performance she wants to make perfect. Seeing 'Tron Legacy' and 'The Fighter' before this (I saw all three in one day) helped keep me up with this whole perfection fiasco, which is the entire theme of 'Black Swan.' The most brilliant thing about 'Black Swan' is that it actually adapts the story of 'Swan Lake' into Nina's story that we see in the film. Since I'm a guy, I know very little about 'Swan Lake,' but Aronofsky obviously wasn't targeting all females with this film, so he throws in a summary about halfway in. It is then that you should be able to pick up that everything Nina is going through is a literal translation of the 'Swan Lake' story. This is even easier to notice with the orchestra music that plays throughout the movie during scenes that would not normally have music playing in the background. Most guys won't find this information fascinating at all, but hey, we get to see two hot chicks making out. Or do we? Aronofsky does a lot more with this film than you'll probably be able to notice after seeing it once. This includes having Natalie Portman always wearing white while Mila Kunis always wears black, to represent Portman as the Swan and Kunis as the dark side, although this symbolism is all in Nina's head. Her reluctance to push everyone else out of her life shows as we continually see her trying to keep her mother out of her room, as well as her attempts to impress her instructor while failing to understand what he wants out of her. Her struggle to impress two perfectionists drives her to the point of insanity, and the balance of the two characters on Nina's shoulders represents the struggle of the "swan" with it's dark side, which we see leads to a surprisingly extravagant conclusion. I would say that Aronofsky was very Fincher-esque with the psychological mindf**k, Kubrickian with the perfectionist structure of the film (especially with the bombastically loud orchestral soundtrack), or even Tarantinoish with the way he incorporated symbolism every which way (as 'Inglourious Basterds' did), but if you have seen any of this director's past films, you will understand that this is all Aronofsky. While it is indeed perfect, and very symbolic, it is also very dark and never afraid to push the limits, just as his other films are. 'Black Swan' as a whole represents the beauty of Aronofsky's dark natured filmography, although some will not like it since the limits the film pursues to push are not the type fans of Disney's 'Ice Princess' would've expected. It actually thrilled me to see many of the young girls in the theater covering their eyes throughout the film, just so I could assure myself that I wasn't watching some Hannah Montana manure. Expand
  4. Jan 3, 2011
    This is the best movie to come out in the past twenty years. Absolutely gorgeous, and haunting at the same time. It will stay on your mind for days after seeing it. Every Academy Award should go to Black Swan, Natalie Portman, and Darren Aronofsky. My new favorite movie.
  5. MkM
    Dec 6, 2010
    Make note: of the two idiots who gave this bad reviews, one did so to draw attention to a technical problem with the metacritic site and the other wrote his based on the trailer, which made him "angry" even though he doesn't seem to know what the movie is actually about. Frustrating. Oh, and by the way, the movie is one of the best to come out this year.
  6. Dec 26, 2010
    Perfection--a major theme of the film and ultimately what it achieves. Portman is stunning. Aronofsky's direction is masterful. The cinematography and sound are interesting and integral to the story. This is simply a masterpiece in the psychological horror oeuvre.
  7. Dec 22, 2010
    Kenneth Turan of the LA Times is absolutely clueless. This film was brilliant. The fact that you are unable to distinguish reality from psychosis is what is so compelling about the piece. Natalie Portman deserves an Oscar for her amazing performance.
  8. Dec 20, 2010
    Black Swan is one of those all too rare films these days where you are never quite sure where it is going. Sometimes that can be upsetting and disorienting--but not so with this film. Aronofsky's direction kept me constantly on edge and even provided some genuine thriller moments where more than one audience member shrieked out loud. It is a darkly hued tale expertly told and performed by Natalie Portman in what is surely one of her most powerful roles to date. Indeed this story is at times disturbing and provocative, but that's the way good art should be--even in the seemingly simple lithe world of ballet dancing. Expand
  9. Feb 5, 2011
    Wau!!! Awesome, Natalie Portman is wonderful. She make a mysterious and fantastic interpretation. Darren made a movie that it can be one of the best in this year. Mila Kunis do a great job.
  10. Jan 13, 2012
    Black Swan deserves the title of psychological thriller more than simple drama because, although its about a ballet dancer that wants to get the leading role in the Swan Lake, shows the journey that has to make an obsessive and disturbed girl throw her subconscious to change her personality. But this will become more difficult because she will have to struggle not only against herself but also with an overprotective mother who tries to fulfill her broken dreams through Nina.
    Changes start physically and with the help of the director of the ballet company and another dancer, Nina will discover her alter ego. This concept is pursued by Darren Aronofsky, and it can also be notice in The Wrestler. The idea is to show the other side of reality, the one that scares us, our other personality hidden deeply in ourselves.
    The performances are as remarkable as the plot, and in the final scene, Natalie Portman gives an incredible presentation, which is impulsive and seductive at the same time, culminating her transformation and achieving perfection.
    The amazing thing about this movie is that all the elements: plot, performances, music, dialogues, confusing and frightening images, leads to complete madness. And because of this is hard to distinguish if the things that you see in the movie are fact or fiction, but that topic is for your own interpretation.
  11. Jan 9, 2011
    Black Swan is not a psychological thriller that's privy to holding hands with its audience. In fact, you're expected to comprehend its entirety on your own. If you have problems understanding obsessive compulsive disorders and elaborate hallucinations mixed with other psychotic tendencies, Black Swan will confuse you. But in the midst of the confusion is the pure value of the film -- this stuff is WORTH studying. Natalie Portman's quest to perform her greatest role isn't a high school drama escapade, it's a disturbing reality that traumatizes and destroys the life of real people. Black Swan is one of the best productions in recent memory, and it's a must watch for anyone curious. Expand
  12. Dec 23, 2010
    Thrilling, chilling, and mesmerizing is how I would describe this movie. I was fully into the movie then entire time, even though I don't know too much about ballet. Portman gives an incredible performance and the climatic finale had me on the edge of my seat. At some times the movie was confusing but that is why it works.
  13. Dec 21, 2010
    I've never used this word before but this movie was breath taking. It started out a little slow but man does the pace pick up as the movie goes along. Portman deserves Oscar consideration for an amazing performance. The camera work was fantastic. I've never attended a ballet before. I think I'd like to go to one now.
  14. Dec 23, 2010
    Great film. Natalie delivers one of her best performances to date.
    Not for all the family because of the sexual tension on it.
    It has many levels, if you can see trough it.
  15. Dec 25, 2010
    Definitely worth seeing. The acting is as brilliant as the psyches portrayed are perverse.
    Brooding, dark, and mysterious, while compelling you to watch, ever mindful that you do not know what what is truth or delusion.
  16. Dec 6, 2010
    "Black Swan" runs an intense and gripping course that is provided by the direction of Darren Aronofsky; but the spectacular and spellbinding performance of Natalie Portman is the reason that this film will be remembered long after.
  17. Dec 20, 2010
    Black Swan is very good!. The movie is perfectly paced, great art direction and Mila Kunis is very underrated in this prestige film. I am not a big fan of Darron Aronoksy but this is a rare feat. I don't like ballet but it was interesting to have a better understanding of the art.
  18. Dec 6, 2010
    Outstanding film. Portman gives an excellent performance. This is not a film that is enjoyable to watch, minute-to-minute, as it moves along. It is a ride you are on. And it is incredibly stressful and scary at points, but that is a sign of Aronofsky's success in putting you inside the protagonist's increasingly frayed mind. The ending is exhilarating and powerful. As good of a closing 30 seconds as I have seen in a film in quite some time. The film is an excellent piece of art with several good acting performances. Expand
  19. Dec 6, 2010
    An excellent psychological-horror film. The score does a wonderful job of setting the mood and tone, along with the excellent cinematographic. The acting overall is phenomenal. It would be a shame if Portman did not get Oscar consideration for her role. In a age where for some, being entertained at the movies is a rare occasion, Black Swan succeeds triumphantly.
  20. Dec 14, 2010
    An excellent movie. Definitely a Best Picture. The acting is just brilliant and if you don't see it know I guarantee you will be missing out on an important piece of 21st century cinema.
  21. Dec 18, 2010
    Wow. The one weak link is the screenplay (Cassel has to say some truly awful lines). I couldn't possibly care less. I haven't seen a film this visceral in years, maybe ever. Portman is career-best (by a lot) and Barbara Hershey is superb. Perfectly captures the weird dichotomy of the deathly serious and the absurd that any obsessive artist confronts themselves with on a daily basis... why do we let ourselves tear ourselves to shreds over something that, in the grand scheme, should be so trivial? Black Swan doesn't answer the question and doesn't seek to, but it does explore it through a totally committed performance from Natalie Portman that has to be one of the most difficult acting assignments I've seen someone take on in a film in years. A dizzy, demented film that doesn't give a damn about the line between reality and delirium. I love that. Expand
  22. Dec 18, 2010
    Stupendous film, which could have at its core the would-be, the almost, the near-but-not quite great, the jock who is on the brink of stardom but can't cope with the pressure, the constant stress and anxiety, the bodily abuse. Except it's the mirror image, the almost great ballerina who is coping poorly (at best) with the stress/fatigue/injuries/obsessions/dedication/rejection/guilt trips, ya-da. Definitely not for those who like fluff, Mr. Happy-Face, P or PG rating, or perhaps R ratings based on swearing or violence. A true "art house", "artsy - f--tsy", "thinkin' " movie. The remarkable finish leaves the audience stunned, astonished, agog. Expand
  23. Dec 24, 2010
    I hate to be so vulgar but this movie was a total mindf*ck; and I mean that in the best way. Seriously, I don't know how else to describe it. Whatever it feels like to drop acid, that's what this movie was like. Mesmerizing. Uncomfortably intense, dark, powerful, creepy, sexy, and heartbreaking. I recommend you see it; it will kick your ass and you'll love every second of it!
  24. Dec 24, 2010
    As any movie, Black Swan has it's little defects. Even though i am willing to call it - Masterpiece. Natalie Portman's performance is breathtaking. We see Nina as a skilled ballet dancer obsessed of the desire of being perfect. She has the greet opportunity of playing the lead role in Swan Lake, but to take it she has to become the very best. Finally it results that the only obstacle on her way is her own personality. That is one of those love or hate movies. As you watch it you stop thinking about the other stuff and once it is over you spend several seconds or even a minute staring at the screen, processing the information, while wondering what exactly you just saw. As the time passes by the image becomes clearer and at the end you succeed in realising it's message. For me that's the idea of a brilliant movie, the one that leaves a trace behind in your mind and soul. Expand
  25. Dec 25, 2010
    Natalie Portman was difficult to watch in this so-called psychological thriller. Her quest for perfection took her into the uncharted territory of real/imagined physical injuries and damages, real/imagined conflicts with her demanding and smothering mother and her jealous competitors, and real/imagined conflicts about her sexuality.
    This movie was painful to watch because it WENT NOWHERE
    and had no UNDERSTANDABLE RESOLUTION in the final frame. If I had ten thumbs, they would all be DOWN in rating this abortive attempt at defining the conflicts of a woman searching for ultimate acceptance of her talents by all her peers and her critics. An absolutely HORRIBLE, DEPRESSING MOVIE!! Expand
  26. Jan 5, 2011
    F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece. F'in Masterpiece.
  27. Dec 31, 2010
    I loved this movie! Natalie Portman was mesmerizing! I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie. It was exhilarating and disturbing at the same time. An Oscar contender for certain. I would see this movie again.
  28. Jan 10, 2011
    This movie is ally hype. It's nothing more than a compilation of lesbian sex scenes, blood and emotion. If this is what the world calls a good movie I seriously wonder what the hell is in the water these days! Americans need to wake up and see what is essentially softcore porn.
  29. Feb 13, 2011
    I like lesbians so when that lesbian scene came up, I was all like "Awh sweet, I like this." So if you want to catch some hot lesbian action, watch this movie. They lez out.
  30. Jul 3, 2011
    Honestly. The best movie I've ever seen. I believe it was a nicely cast film and well written. It takes you deep into the psychologically disturbed mind of Nina (Natalie Portman). It's apparent that Nina is a closed off "mama's" girl. Nina, still living with her mother and sleeping in a pink bedroom, starts the film seeming rather normal with a few odd things such as the scratches on her back. Things seem to spiral further into psychological torment after she is cast as Swan Queen in "Swan Lake". She, as well as the audience, begins to see things wrong with her that everyone around her cannot see. For example, the tearing of skin off her finger in the bathroom, the lesbian love scene with Lily (Mila Kunis). In this fantastic psychological thriller Natalie Portman reaches what seems to be deep down to be able to portray herself as this disturbed soul. The last scene is simply breathtakingly fantastic, leaving you in awe and wanting more. One of the best film's I have ever seen. I say you must watch "Black Swan". Expand
  31. Dec 30, 2011
    Black Swan is gripping, dramatic, intense and passionate and Natalie Portman brings all that in her unforgettable performance. This movie also has a strong performance from Mila Kunis and has some cool visual effects that fit the movie. I give this movie 93%.
  32. Jan 9, 2012
    This movie is plain brilliant. The stronghold is its script as with all movies, but this one in particular stands out because of its very unique and dynamic development. The storyline is very original and it is putted out in the same way, with a very intriguing and terrifying psychological plot. The concept of madness is its central element, and it is unwrapped is a way that will make you feel it yourself. The horror also takes deep involvement in the telling of this story and it has a huge part on constructing the mind altering movie this is. Over another aspect; the acting is as well excellent, with wonderful performances that have proven to be an essential part of this production with major contributions to the whole feeling of it. Totally amazing, this dark and machiavellian title will challenge your mind as never before and make you experience the psychological evolution through unexpected twists until achieved the utmost insanity seen in this movie. Expand
  33. Oct 17, 2011
    Black Swan is almost as perfect as it's protagonist's final performance. With an incredibly detailed, perfected, yet subtle performance by Natalie Portman - a career best, most certainly - Black Swan manages to keep ones attention fully throughout the length of the film. Not only does Portman shine, but so does the supporting cast, especially Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis. With many fantastical aspects to the film, it is somewhat confusing and keeps one on the edge of their seat, since we never know what is really happening with Nina (Portman) and her surrounding. The cinematography is beautiful and the editing is done quite superbly. The musical score is very appropriate, with beautiful music by Tchaikovsky, including a techno-redo for a club scene, done by the Chemical Brothers.
    The only aspect of the film that left me wanting more was a pre-story to Nina's situation. Yes, the focus of the film is rather appropriate, but a nice extra 5-10 minutes at the beginning to set the stage would be nice. Or some sort of flashbacks? That, of course, would take away from the mystique of the film, but by the end I did feel I wanted to know more about Nina and how she got to where she was. The film did that in many ways effectively, but I still felt there were some things Aronofsky could have worked out.
    Nonetheless, one of the best films of the year, by far! Excellent!!
  34. Dec 30, 2010
    I really love Natalie Portman's performance ever in this dark twisted movie. She really scared everyone in the audience. Black Swan is a perfect film that shows a character who really wanted to become a perfect ballerina so she can be in the musical stage and then she got split personality on herself that she couldn't control herself all because of the fears of practicing ballet. But also,I really love for my personally favorite is to all of you men,that we love to see Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are making out in this picture,that's it! Expand
  35. Feb 14, 2011
    "Black Swan is a disturbing , shocking , moving sadistic tale , that is captivating , compulsive and a work of art just shy of a masterpiece and will be no surprise when Natalie Portmen wins the Oscar for Best Actress" ... A-
  36. Jan 6, 2011
    Bravo! Encore! The best film I have seen for a very long time.
    A spectacular film, through the brilliant mind of Aranofsky who never ceases to impress me. The story is gripping, with strong contrast between beauty and elegance with darkness and insanity. The score is really moving and adds to the suspense and the surprisingly the previously shallow Portman brings a rich in layer and
    depth performance worthy of many awards! Expand
  37. Dec 22, 2010
    this movie is the best I saw in 2010, amazing, one of the best music underscore.! Portman just wonderful, everything was spectacular ... This combination of psychological drama is a mixture of feelings that you uncoordinated and keeps you glued to the screen until the last minute
  38. Dec 21, 2010
    This movie is stunning. I just love a movie when, after you leave, you can't stop thinking about it and talking about it. Well made and well acted, a must see.
  39. Dec 22, 2010
    Outstanding Acting, Directing, and story. One of the best thriller movie i seen. Outstanding performance by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. On of the year best films. This movie is going catch your attention from beginning to end. I enjoy this movie a lot. Natalie Portman gave such a good performance in this movie. I love thriller movies like this. I think this is a movie ever body would enjoy. Very crazy and amazing movie. Expand
  40. Dec 19, 2010
    "Black Swan" is a terrifying and beautiful psych-thriller which completely blew me away. I almost felt genuinely sick while watching the movie, similar to the feeling I had while watching the downward spiral that was "Requiem for a Dream;" but I can't say that it wasn't amazing. "Black Swan" hits you at your emotional core, and Portman's performance in the film may very well be her best outing to date. The film follows Nina (Natalie Portman), the main character and recently selected lead in her studio's upcoming production of "Swan Lake," through the weeks leading up to the debut of the play (which is re-instated in a more simple form to attempt to defibrillate the struggling company). As her instructor Thomas (Vincent Cassel) states, the role is very dynamic, and requires her to get "loose" to play the seductive and deceptive black swan. She struggles at first, but soon finds darkness in a life filled with innocence, and becomes ensnared in the role. The movie turns into a nightmarish and terrifying struggle between good and evil, as Nina battles amongst herself to try to come to grips with the ballet role that is consuming her life, and her soul. The film is edgy, raw, and at times, outright frightening. It has that visceral and striking presence which Aronofsky is so masterfully talented at projecting, although it is purposely flawed so that you are sick to your stomach with Nina's mental health. It makes heavy work of symbolism and irony, and repeating themes include duality, hatred, anger, control and insanity. Personally, I loved the film. It is almost impossible to not be hypnotized by the intense cinematography, the outstanding performances, and the bold imagery. The entrancing score by Clint Mansell, a long-time collaborator of Aronofsky's, is real and powerful, and perfectly captures the essence of the film's most intense moments. I guess the one thing which kept me from giving it a ten would be that the film almost does too much at times. It is complicated, and although brilliantly conceived, it draws away from an audience which may more greatly appreciate it for it's terrifying reality, and not its symbolism and depth. Regardless, the movie is greatness in a bottle. If you haven't seen it yet, treat yourself over the holidays; you won't regret it. Expand
  41. Dec 11, 2010
    It is one film of the year where I walk out of the theater and went, Hmm, nice! Well, that doesn't mean it's better than some other films I saw this year, but this is an impressive. Black Swan offers plenty of drama, plenty of thrilling moments, and plenty of sexiness. With a thrilling and perplexed performance by Natalie Portman, and stylish directing from Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan can go far. The story is more complicated than you think it is. It is not just about a ballet dancer, it is about a ballet dancer with deep mental issues. Nina is professional ballet dancer who got promoted to play the key role in a ballet performance, the Swan Queen. With a lot of pressure on her, the story proposes that she is obviously hallucinating about her body being deform. At first, I thought all of this was real because Natalie Portman is so believable. But as the story developed, I know for a fact that this girl has some serious mental issues. A summary about the film really doesn't do it justice, go watch it and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. Black Swan demonstrates how ballet is as exciting and thrilling as an action movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it. Natalie Portman might even win the Best Actress Oscar, that is if she beat Annette Bening (but she already locked herself an Oscar nod). Darren Aronofsky will probably snatch the Best Director nod, but Black Swan will definitely have a chance at the Best Picture run. Expand
  42. Dec 12, 2010
    Amazing visceral acting, cinematography, score, and most importantly, the film deeply immerses you.

    Natalie Portman deserves an oscar nomination for her role.
  43. Dec 14, 2010
    If you were a fan of The Wrestler you'll love this. If Requiem For A Dream flipped your stomach over, get ready for Black Swan. This movie was absolutely incredible. The story isn't unknown to the common movie-gower, but it doesn't have flashing signs and big arrows that yell "SYMBOLISM" or "METAPHORE". The surrealism mixed with the psychological torment of competition gave this film a VERY realistic feel for any person once involved with competitive theatre or dancing. All the actors were terrific and Mila Kunis was not shadowed by Natalie Portman, she stood her ground as her black swan and was a terrific supporting actress. Do what you can to see this movie. Do it. Expand
  44. Dec 17, 2010
    Leaving the theater, my friend and I overheard a man say, The lesbian scenes werenâ
  45. Dec 19, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really feel like Aronofsky has found a happy medium between Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler with his latest masterpiece, Black Swan. He definitely takes his interpretation of Swan Lake and All About Eve to some unique places with the film. And he doesn't feel the need to have to make sense on a practical level, because he is using his chosen medium to express the torment Natalie Portman's character is going through as she prepares for the greatest role of her career. And the film parallels both the stories of Swan Lake and All About Eve's storylines on a metaphorical level that is raw and provocative. I have talked with many people who hated this film and our biggest degree of separation is the fact that I felt this film perfectly conveys what it is to put one's self out there on the stage, and what an actor (or dancer) must do to get to a certain place. They felt that the film's unrealities derailed it from the point it was trying to make. But I don't think a good filmmaker must be constricted by reality when trying to prove a point. An artist must separate themselves from who they are and become what the character demands. Portman's character didn't need to change to be the White Swan. But to be the Black Swan, she had to abandon everything her mother wanted her to be. Which brings me to the relationship between Portman and Barbara Hershey. I personally know girls who have this EXACT relationship with their mothers. I even know a girl who was named after Baryshnikov, who trained as a ballerina as a young girl, but ultimately gave up that dream and she has this exact relationship with HER mother. So needless to say this relationship REALLY spoke to me. The mother wants her daughter to remain innocent and perfect and be the ballerina in the box. But she ultimately becomes the broken and chipped away figurine because that's what life does to us. She has to rebel against her mother, her company, and even herself to find the darkness within that she needs to play this part. And if people don't really believe this is what artists go through, they don't have to look as far back as Van Gogh severing his ear to remember the fates of Heath Ledger and River Phoenix. Some artists who try and tap into the darkness wind up killing themselves in the same way Portman's character slips over the edge. That's why I think this movie is so spectacular, and why Portman deserves the Oscar. Her transformation was flawless. And lovely to watch. And Clint Mansell's hypnotic score ushered us along in perfect sync with Portman's descent. For someone who has enjoyed ballets and operas and theatre in general, Aronfsky has given us a dour tour de force that should satisfy most pallets, whether they can handle the macabre elements or not. I can't wait to see what he does with The Wolverine. Haha. Expand
  46. Dec 19, 2010
    Natalie Portman does for Black Swan what Mickey Rourke did for The Wrestler. Both players pushed themselves physically and emotionally to lend gravitas to an art form that isn't widely respected or understood. She brings such life to her roll. She embodies anxiety, fear, excitement, frustration, and sexual confusion. Every other character in the film represents some external source of emotion. None of the supporting players gets three dimensions. Each fills a role: "the mother," "the director," "the rival," "the former star." To that end, each of those characters inspires a different sort of anxiety, curiosity, dread, or fury in the central character, and Natalie Portman brilliantly evokes the oftentimes subtle distinctions between those emotional responses. It's fascinating to watch. Expand
  47. Dec 26, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Aronofsky's dizzying and dazzling new film grabs the audience and take them on a ride through the intense trials and pressures on a increasingly unstable ballerina played masterfully by Natalie Portman. Aronofsky's engaging camerawork places you directly in the action and dares you to join him on his feverish trip through Nina Sayers' mind. Although Aronofsky's film may not be "perfect" like Nina's final, suicidal performance, it comes close. Expand
  48. Jan 9, 2011
    The little girl in LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL (1994) had grown up now. Natalie Portman is at her peak performance so far. Team up with heavy-caliber Director Darren Aronofsky, they made a beautiful story but horrifying at the same time. Aronofsky is invincible, especially when he explored human desperation, like in his previous films REQUIEM OF A DREAM (2000), THE FOUNTAIN (2006) and THE WRESTLER (2008). For about 100 minutes of the movie, I felt like I was experiencing the theater performance, not just like a common movie. It filled with beautiful images and great orchestra. Nina (Portman) is a chosen ballerina to fulfil her dual roles all at once, to be irresistible innocence White Swan and also to become seductive evil Black Swan. Slowly but sure, the darker side of Black Swan absorbs her real life. I love the brilliant Cinematography. Aronofsky seemed to use two techniques of camera work. One was for The Long Shot, he used steady conventional method. And the second for The Close-up, he used Hand-held Camera. I had ever said that Hand-held Camera is modern technique in today cinematic world. Not only for Action, but recently for Drama as well, Hand-shake Camera is able to effectively drag you into the middle of ongoing situation, if you are not using Hand-held Camera, you are out of date now. The Cast is amazingly fit. Vincent Cassel is fit for provocative and ambitious Ballet Instructor. Mila Kunis is fit for seductive and ambitious Nina colleague. Barbara Hershey is fit for authoritarian and ambitious mother. And even a brief but impressive appearance by Winona Ryder as anxious and ambitious competitor. Yeah, it is all about ambition and you can see it in each character, all of them have their own ambition. However, the star of all stars above is Portman herself. She shows her darker side successfully, you could literally feel her pain, pressure and paranoia situation. The movie becomes more mysterious with some unusual sex scenes. For the last half hour of film duration, she drives us into beautiful but ironic condition, sometimes absurdity become the part of it. Those last scenes are extremely horrified, with broken fingernail, peeling skin and fractured bone for the elements. I almost could categorize thiz movie as a Horror movie. The movie emphasizes in every beautifulness of ballet, there is dark side that we never know before. Finally, I just want to say, It was perfect.

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  49. Jan 24, 2011
    Visually stunning, artistic, brilliant performances from everyone involved, Natalie Portman was spectacular. It Was Creepy and strange and like nothing I've seen in a long time, Almost perfect 9/10
  50. Mar 2, 2011
    Does Aronofsky do his best to cheaply thwart all of the viewers attempts at rationalizing an implausible film in an attempt to make an otherwise boring storyline interesting? Yes he does. Does his succeed? Debatable. But does Aronofsky create one of the greatest psychological thrillers of all time out of a story about a stressed ballet dancer? Without question.
  51. Apr 20, 2011
    The movie is disturbing all the way to its closing scene, haunting the viewer with its brilliant cinematography and beautifully choreographed and shot dance scenes. The movie is intoxicating, fast-paced, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The acting is all very good, and Natalie Portman certainly deserves recognition for her fantastic work. A fantastic film.
  52. May 23, 2011
    Well, y'know... It was a brilliant idea to pursue it with Natalie Portman in mind you know. She was just amazing and her depth! Oh how she scared the sh*t outta me? Dear Lord, your movie is the horror film of the year because of Portman and... Barbara Hershey! Scariest lady since Sylvia Ganush! Damn, I also commend Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis! But oh, I couldn't put into words how much I admire this. Forget the Step Up 3D sh*t, this is the best dance movie of 2010! Expand
  53. Jun 23, 2011
    Breath taking. That's the words I use to describe this movie. Simply brilliant. Darren is seriously one of the best living directors of our time. I fail to see how so many people are oblivious to this fact and would rather watch a Michael Bay movie. Whatever, this movie's packed with symbolism, psychology and a great look into the character Nina's world[view].
  54. j30
    Sep 20, 2011
    My favorite movie from 2010. It's beautifully dark and intensely made by Darren Aronofsky, who has kind of a streak with me (my favorite 2008 movie The Wrestler). Natalie Portman's haunting performance is amazing. The whole cast brings their A-game. Mila Kunis (her rival), Vincent Cassel (the creepy director), and Barbra Hershey (the crazy-ass mother). I know it's not categorized as a horror movie, but it sure feels like it and it's nice to see some recognition from the academy. Expand
  55. May 1, 2014
    Maybe it's the acting, maybe it's the perfect scrip, maybe are the musical numbers that makes this movie a perfect psychological thriller, with a storytelling technique unlike any other.
  56. Dec 23, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. At the end of Rob Marshall's "Chicago", in an effort to clear up any lingering doubts from moviegoers about what they just saw, the titles proudly trumpet that the principal actors did all their own singing and dancing. So adept were Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Renee Zelwegger at both performing arts, some audience members may have presumed that professionals were called in to do all the heavy lifting, especially the dancing, where, as is the norm for any movie that requires multi-tasking(stunt work, stripping, etc...) of its actors, a double can be inserted whenever the camera catches the body without a head. Knowing this, the novelty aspect behind a Hollywood starlet, a veritable household name, casting vanity aside and trying to disappear into the role of a top-flight ballerina is dispelled, right off the bat, when the filmmaker establishes his subject's competence(or dare I say, mastery) in dramatic fashion. Dancing by herself, establishing shots of Natalie Portman in balletic repose, give way to a close-up of disembodied feet, whose legs, cut off somewhere above the knee, could belong to anybody, but are indeed Portman's, when a camera tilt, along with the dancer's contortions, reorientates the actress to her lowest extremities, right after those thought-to-be-anonymous feet go from horizontal to vertical(in other words, "on point"), and then in gilded motion, like a pro. It's a goosebump moment, believe me. It's really her, the stripper who wouldn't strip in Mike Nichols' "Closer"...doing THAT! With Portman's credibility issues out of the way, this neo-"Repulsion" story becomes the focal point, which wouldn't be the case if Nina Sayers, a woman-girl with mommy issues(and sexuality issues) who's losing it, was heavily subordinated by a Julliard-trained stand-in to do all the hard stuff. The camera doesn't lie, especially a hand-held one, a probing thing that gets in Nina's grille(on and off-the-job), and Portman's body, all sinewy muscle and bone, is the truth, and passes with flying colors. The unbridled passion and masochism and predilection for self-sacrifice that every hungry, up-and-coming dancer possesses is captured in unerring detail by Portman, who on a short-time basis, obviously, went through the same taxing process herself, because you can see, actually see, that she's thinking, as opposed to acting, like a dancer in the cut-throat world of New York City swan-making. When asked by her lecherous ballet director(Vincent Cassell) to embody the second swan with the same assuredness as its white doppleganger, the virginal Nina goes down a rabbit hole of repression and self-hatred when the unformed girl is forced to ruminate over sex, a subject she clearly deflects through overcompensation, in which ballet has proven to be a stunting mechanism for this grown woman(who still lives with her mom and has a room populated with a menagerie stuffed animals), thereby creating a vast disconnect between her emotional and chronological age. When you get right down to it, "Black Swan" is all about f*cking. In her room, Nina touches herself, and is made to feel guilty about having desire, all at once, upon discovery of her mother asleep in a bedside chair(or is she?), indicating a past history in which Erica(Barbara Hershey), a failed dancer who has mixed emotions about her daughter's success, impeded Nina's sexual development through calculated sheltering. Not wanting to draw comparisons with Michael Haneke's "The Piano Teacher", Nina and her mother sleep in separate rooms, but the disturbance created by Erica, her seeming entitlement to be in such close proximity to her adult daughter, suggests that the bedtime arrangements are still new. In a sense, the mother helped birth the black swan that haunts Nina. As a result of her psycho-sexuality, Nina stabs the dark bird, stabs Lily(Mila Kunis), for awakening her greatest fear, inflaming the fragile ballerina to stab herself, out of self-hatred for not being the white swan, mother's "sweet girl". Expand
  57. Feb 6, 2011
    Again Darren Aronovsky proves he is one fo the few directors trying to push the envelope of cinema. Black Swan is the story about an inner conflict pushed at it's limits, it is not a movie about ballet or the famous Swan Lake. This is a psychological drama, ballet is just a vehicle for that conflict and so ballet fans will probably be disappointed. In fact in the early versions of the script the story unfolded in the world of theater. Expand
  58. Nov 12, 2011
    I really enjoyed this movie. I am now a fan of Natalie Portman - who played both naughty and nice in the same movie pertaining to her actual role as black swan. The movie left me confused in many parts but I do understand its use of psychology of those that delve into perfectionism. This movie was not something I looked forward to watching - but I'm glad I did.
  59. Mar 28, 2011
    This is one of my favorite movies ever! Natalie Portman deserved her Oscar for her amazing performance. Ever since I saw it, I have been obsessed with it. The acting, story, direction, screenplay, visuals, and music are all perfect. A perfect movie.
  60. Jan 12, 2011
    '"Black Swan'": Horrifically Beautiful

    In a year full of great films by Hollywood's most talented storytellers, Black Swan manages to rise above the rest.

    In today's modern age of crystal clear high-definition and mind-blowing 3D effects, director Darren Aronofsky is not afraid to create a beautiful piece of visual art with grain and grittiness. But how would you classify this film?
    Psychological thriller? Horror? Art dance piece? The truth is it is all of these, executed to perfection.

    A good film is usually respected because the filmmaker is able to execute one or two important elements really well. Either the story is unique and well told, or they were able to get great performances, but it is truly a rare film that is able to tell a compelling story while at the same time using each aspect of filmmaking to its full potential. In "Black Swan", Aronofksy was able bring together production design, cinematography, editing, and sound design in such away that the audience was brought completely into the world of Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman. From the very first frame, with Portman dancing alone in a spotlight, the audience can't help but be captivated and drawn into the film.

    There were some very interesting, very brilliant choices in cinematography throughout the film. What is truly amazing, looking at the technical specs, is that while most of the film was shot on 16mm film stock, some sequences were seamlessly integrated into the film that were shot on the Canon 7D, a digital camera. How they were able to utilize and intercut the two mediums is remarkable in itself, but Aronofsky and his cinematographer, Matthew Libatique were able to achieve a specific look for every scene in such a way that would have been impossible using only one medium, all the while keeping the overall asthetic of the film surprisingly consistent. But what is really noteworthy of Aronofsky's distinct visual style is his camera work. Starting in "The Wrestler", he began shooting many of his scenes following directly behind his subject. While some storytelling traditionalists might find this odd because you would normally be missing the facial reactions of the characters, it does make you feel like you are experiencing the locations and situations right in the person's shoes, much more so than a point-of-view shot could ever hope to accomplish.

    It was remarkable to see the level of perfection they were able to achieve with the camera operation during the dancing sequences as well. What must have taken take after take to nail it just right came across almost effortless, yet ultimately added so much to the choreography and movement of the dancers. Darren Aronofsky is one of the few directors that doesn't just use his camera as a device to show his story to an audience, but rather uses it as an integral storytelling tool.

    But what ultimately gave these spectacular shots their power was the editing. With some of the strongest cuts to be put on the screen in decades, editor Andrew Weisblum was able to tell a complicated story at a relentless, riveting pace. Once cut in particular immediately stood out, and that is when the camera is following Portman walking into the Lincoln Center, and we jump-cut to another location while keeping her perfectly in the center of frame. This kind of editing really should not work, because it is visually jarring, yet at the same time it is so intriguing, and practical, to keep the story moving that it perks your attention and keeps you always wanting more. It should be noted here, however, that it is impossible to have this level of editing without having a great sound design accompanying it.

    Despite every single member of the crew obviously performing their jobs expertly, this film really only belongs to one person, and that is Natalie Portaman with the role of her lifetime. We have certainly seen different sides of her as an actress, and how she can, with the right direction, completely immerse herself into a character in her previous work, but never like this. Her burden of carrying this film must have been both emotionally and physically draining beyond imagination. When it comes to an actor being dedicated to their craft, you don't get much better than this. Having to not only perfectly execute the transformation in character from a shy, timid girl into a powerful dancer but all the while having to pull off looking like a world-class ballet dancer is not a job for every actress. Portman always had a certain way of drawing the audience in and being completely captivating to watch, but in this film she really had to go into some dark emotional places that she was able to translate directly onto the screen.
  61. Mar 24, 2011
    Even though it starts out bland the latter part really digs into me with its disturbing imaging and artistic nature. I was hoping for the thrills to come sooner and I was just about to walk out when all of a sudden, I see Portman run into Kunis' arms. Things got really interesting after that. While not one of the greatest movies of all time it is still one of the best I've seen so far this new decade. Expand
  62. Apr 11, 2011
    I cannot understand why people keep saying that this movie will be "forgotten". I don't think that I will be able to unsee the images I witnessed in this film, and for that, I applaud Black Swan. This is an incredibly beautiful, utterly disturbing film, which will leave you on tenterhooks the entire time. A must-see, and a must-have for the household (though the kids may not want to watch...).
  63. Dec 9, 2012
    Man what a film. Forget whether you do or don't like ballet, this is a surreal and intense thriller/horror almost in the vain of some of Stephen kings old stuff. Brilliant, disturbing imagery in parts, a great pace, always entertaining and suspenseful. Drags you deeper and deeper into madness and totally delivers at the end. A masterpiece really.
  64. Jan 4, 2011
    We manifest our own destiny; we either create our own brilliant success or our tragic downfall. Regardless of the situation, most of our problems donâ
  65. Jan 24, 2011
    mila kunis eating the clung out of natalie portman please this is 10 out of 10 material it was a shame u didnt get to see the company director get up to his nuts in guts though
  66. Jan 14, 2011
    Mila Kunitz + Nathalie Portman = Sublime! Awesome movie, weird, dark, spooky, yummy! One of the best film I have seen this year. Portman is a wonderful actress that finally gets the shot of her career.
  67. Feb 27, 2011
    Outstanding. No doubt one of the best films of the year. Best thriller/drama movie I've seen yet. Natalie Portman's performance is incredible, such as the other actors in the film.
  68. Feb 16, 2012
    Natalie Portman did a great job portraying this insecure, shy, wanna-be-perfect ballerina. Her performance was tremendous and Oscar - worthy. this was her role and she will be remembered by it. I won't be surprised if she wins an Oscar for best actress. Honestly i want her to win. I' ve never saw her this perfect. She gave her all for this movie, and she killed it! A great film, definitely a must-see. Expand
  69. Jan 7, 2011
    I'm not a big fan of this type of movies, but I'll still separate this film, because as far as the cast, this film is phenomenal, in terms of story, is simply great and I think this film, with all the awards and nominations he has received, is excellent. Strongly recommend that you look, whether in cinema or on TV.
  70. Nov 17, 2012
    Darren Aronofsky's companion piece to The Wrestler is one of the most elegant, disturbing, striking and unique films in recent memory, pushing the boundaries of what the public is willing to pay for. Sure, the "indie" cinema has been making movies somewhat akin to this for a while, but finally, the viewing public cared. This is not Dogtooth or a Michael Haneke flick, sitting gleefully in its inaccessibility. Aronofsky invited the average audience into his dark vision, and created something beautiful and bleak. Expand
  71. Jul 17, 2011
    I really, really enjoyed this movie. It's a masterpiece, one of the best movies in the last decade. It's all about the heroin's personality, feelings, reactions and interactions with other characters; which are all just so beautifully portrayed by Natalie Portman, she really deserved that Oscar. The whole movie is centered on Nina and you experience every emotions with her, which is very stimulating. Truly a masterpiece. A work of art. I can only hope you get to feel the way I did. Otherwise, well.. you'll end up putting a bad score on it. Expand
  72. Dec 25, 2010
    Great film. Cements Natalie as a solid actress capable of playing any role. This film twists the very foundation of art and makes one look at dance from a different frame - examining the damaging components. One of the strongest films to be released in 2010 for sure.
  73. Jan 9, 2011
    Really good movie. Excellent acting from the cast, especially Natalie Portman. The scene with her and Mila Kunis in her bedroom was amazing. I left the theatre stunned, in a good way. Go see it now!
  74. Jan 2, 2011
    From the opening scene to the final credits this movie had me completely wrapped around its finger for the whole time. Natalie Portman gives a performance of a lifetime. The story and direction are executed brilliantly. Though I could talk ad nauseum about the depth and message of the movie, it can simply be summed up by saying everyone involved in this movie deserves any award they are nominated for. Expand
  75. Feb 2, 2011
    For film, it is extremely rare for me to give a perfect rating: Black Swan is more then worthy of one. The direction was bold, sinister, and beautiful. The acting was astounding, by an actress that will soon become a powerhouse in the cinema world. To miss this movie is to miss film at its finest. Do yourself a favor and see "Black Swan". I dare you to find fault in it.
  76. Jan 19, 2011
    (old review) Critics who don't get this movie or old prudes need not apply. This is one of the most beautifully chaotic yet intelligent movies I have seen. As long as you have good taste and a functioning brain you'll like it, and especially so if you are an artist yourself because it gives you, not so much a comment or exploration (fast becoming a cliche in the critical world), but a feeling of art and the excesses to which artists willingly go for their art. This is why I have a feeling some critics didn't "get it." Critics too often calculate and add up too much to recognize their own feelings about a movie, and frequently judge a movie based on its adherence to a particular formula, but this movie tosses away a formula and creates its own impressionistic view of a situation, much like Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream. There is an added bonus if you are an artist who has given themselves to a project and sacrificed something for it, because this movie shows you the extremes to which you can go for that feeling of having done your job to perfection. As an actor I sympathize mostly with Nina's desire to be perfect and to successfully fulfill her director's wishes, and I'm sure it would apply to so many other fields of creative art.

    Make no mistake, it is a melodrama, and I would compare its tone to the books of Dostoevsky, only with less dialogue and more chaotic dance. It's really quite Russian, as ballet was embraced by the Russians more than many other countries, and let's face it, no one else has matched Fyodor's skill for introspective melodrama in any medium. The end result is that the tone and the subject seem made for each other. Nina is consumed by one zealous focus similar to Alexei Ivanovich, and the style added by Aronofsky's direction makes it totally his. The fast editing, mesmerizing dance choreography, and excellent score made me dizzy, and that was exactly the point. But the one thing that made it truly great as opposed to a beautiful disaster was Natalie Portman. Good God, she gave herself to this role and jumped into the deep end. It's a lovely thing to see an actress these days with talents to match her beauty, and as evidenced in Leon, Natalie has always had talent, but she seemed to have left it at home for a while. Well, all her other roles were warmups compared to this. Paychecks to make it to this script. So haters gonna hate, but you will love or at least appreciate this movie if you let it take you away to another world, or in the case of this one, into someone's eff'd up but utterly fascinating mind. All who love art and good movies go see this now!
  77. Jan 5, 2011
    In Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky creates a nightmarish world that the audience is viscerally thrown into, with continuous twists and surprises at every step of the way, never knowing what will happen next. We only hope there is some salvation at the end. Black Swan is created by one of the most passionate bright young filmmakers alive. The camera style is more regimented and thoughtfully composted compared to the cinema verite, looser, documentary style of The Wrestler. Every shot is perfectly thought out, and the use of mirrors in this film is simply magnificent. The monochromatic colour tone is stunning and at all times the colour palette of everything in shot is tempered to enhance the story. Especially in the wardrobe coloring. The Wrestler was based in the real world, the world we all live in, where a man is grappling with the failures in life, has a daughter, works part-time as a butcher, falls for a stripper and tries to resurrect his fledgling career. It deals with his ego and his determination. Its almost documentary in style. Black Swan is a film sprung from Darren Aronofsky's imagination, aided by a team of talented writers. It is a dark tale of ones inner struggle with perfection. In essence the film centers on the central character of Nina Sayers as she grapples with life as a star ballerina. She does all she can to find perfection within her self and with others. We go into the depths of her mind, and at times the film is as frightening as a Polanski film, at its best. Natalie Portman went on a rigorous training regime for this film and it shows, her performance is mature, dark and stunning. I can continue to write numerous pages on pledging my love for this film but I wont waste my time, or yours, as if you need further information on this, the web is abound with it. When Darren Aronofsky was recently talking about his next film, The Wolverine he made a very interesting point "Iâ Expand
  78. Jan 9, 2011
    Almost certainly one of the best films I have ever seen. It has the same levels of intensity as a **** film, and uses the same black and white depiction of good and evil to visually emphasize the thematic progression. To say this film rocked me, frightened me, and amazed me would be an understatement. I have never, ever had to sit down in the theatre lobby after a movie to process what was just viewed - to do it for 30 minutes, only saying to my friends over and over and over again how good the film was, really made it clear that what I watched was something of great power. An important film in the history of film, I hope. Certainly an important film thematically, touching so many ideas and breaking so many expectations - leaving you confused and terrified for the truth....

    Absolutely stunning.
  79. Mar 7, 2011
    I just watched the film yesterday, and I can honestly say that "Black Swan" is, without a doubt, my favorite film of all times, (beating my former favorite: Fellini's "Eight and a Half"). In a sense, both films have lots in common. Both explore the inner turmoil and real-life hardships of people working in the entertainment business, or that of artists in general. Both films are centered on characters how are under massive pressure from the people in their lives, and both little by little fall appart because of it.
    Now that I think about it, however, unlike "Eight and a Half", "Black Swan" is not a "comedy" (as Fellini himself defined his film) but is almost a horror film. Nina Sayers (amazingly performed by Natalie Portman, who has become my second favorite actress, after Marion Cotillard) is evidently losing her mind, suffering from hallucinations and paranoia, which may or may not be completelly unjustified, living under the rule of a manipulative and oppressive mother, who tries to compensate her own failure as a ballerina by forcing her daughter to devote her whole existence to ballet. Nina is unhealthilly obsessed with perfection, and it seems as if she was a robot, whose only purpose is to dance.
    "Black Swan" is enthralling, disturbing and terrifying. It keeps you on the edge all the way, even if the whole premise becomes obvious and predictable, because the film's point of view is completelly focused on Nina, and thus, even the most surrealistic events don't seem entirelly unreal. Near the end of the film, you lose, just like Nina, the ability to distinguish between what is real and what isn't.
    The other actors are excellent in their performance, and the soundtrack, which I guess belongs to the actual "Swan Lake", is not only fitting but it even helps to pull you into every scene, but the largest assets are the scarse, but bone-chilling, special effects, and Natalie Portman's mind-bending, trully Oscar-deserving performance.
    You want a good mind-f***k? Go and watch "Black Swan"!!
    Score: 10.0
  80. Jan 9, 2011
    Variously described as a psychological thriller, a body horror film or a descent into madness, the film follows the mental and emotional detoriation of a young ballerina attempting the lead role in swan lake. Pressured by her overbearing mother living vicariously through her, her fiercly competitive peers and her psychologically and sexually assertive director her already frail personality deteriorates.
    The film variously addresses the balance between perfection, control and passion. It also portrays Obssesive complusive disorder, body dysmorphism, self mutilation, bulimia, anorexia and the visual hallucinations of psychoses.

    The film is shot in a grainy, close up, hand held style and in such a manner the audience is barely able to disthinquish reality from fantasy much as the main character herself can not. The file is a likely n od for best picture, best director and best actress and perhaps other technical awards as well. Not for everyone but definitely a critical and artistic acheivement of note.
  81. Jan 10, 2011
    Wonderful film, both artistic and psychological approaches were fantastic. Nina didn't distinguish reality from imagination until the end, it was necessary for her to kill Lily so she could be her alter-ego (in the way it resembles Lily), certain psychological depth. She took the path of the self abyss, so when she could became perfection she died, has a being she could never achieve.
    red so many critics, and still, I doubt if some journalists should have their way in critics.
    Certainly the best of the year
  82. Jan 10, 2011
    The best way to describe Black Swan would be to call it an artsy psychological thriller. Darren Aronofsky goes from making us sympathize with large sweaty men hitting each other with chairs to making pretty girls in tutus scary as hell, and he does it with style. From the first frame to the final fade Swan is a breathless descent into madness which left me breathless at the end. I went into the movie expecting it to be intense, but I was in no way prepared for what was in store and I will say I left the theatre very happy. Very disturbed, but happy. Portman is amazing as Nina pulling the audience down into madness with her, making a gradual transition which is captivating to watch (which is good because she gets the vast majority of the the screen time). Mila Kunis is frightening as Lily, changing from breezy and friendly to dark and scary on a dime creating a terrifying antagonist for Nina while also serving to be a great foil as well. However the one dark horse in the movie is Winona Ryder, who doesn't have very much screen time but makes every second count making the audience deathly afraid of her character while still feeling an overwhelming sense of pity as well. Aronofsky's direction is certainly felt, but it never gets in the way, deftly moving from scene to scene and gradually increasing the tension like a master. The visuals of the film are nothing short of beautiful, even with the purposefully dark and grainy filming. In my opinion it is one of the best of the year, the best thing both Portman, Kunis and Aronofsky have done as well. However the dark tone and graphic nature of the film is definitely not for everyone. Expand
  83. Jan 22, 2011
    My full review is available on my blog at My very general thoughts below:

    Darren Aronofsky once directed a gorgeous film called â
  84. Feb 8, 2011
    A dark, twisted, haunting masterpiece. If Portman doesnt win her first oscar here I will be surprised. Aronofsky is one of the best directors currently in hollywood.
  85. Jan 18, 2011
  86. Jan 19, 2011
    This movie is definitely worth watching. Natalie Portman does a superb job as a dwindling and fragile young ballerina, and the beautiful artistic direction is wonderful to watch on screen. Within the first 20 minutes of watching, I had immediately decided that I liked the film. On the negative side, the dialouge was bland and Mila Kunis' character had no depth. Otherwise, this film is a must-see from 2010. Expand
  87. Jan 20, 2011
    This movie is imaginative and new. It's an experience. The use of mirrors in this movie was creative and unique. And Natalie Portman was phenomenal. Enough said.
  88. Feb 6, 2011
    Black Swan was, by far, the best movie of the year. Going into the movie, I didn't quite know what to expect besides that it was a dark ballet movie. I was honestly blown away with what I received from that movie. To take ballet and transform it into that is just amazing. Great movie from start to finish, especially that of the last twenty or thirty minutes. That was the truly breathtaking segment of the movie. All that needs to be said about Natalie Portman is amazing and best actress of the year. And for Darren Aronofsky, best director. This movie, hands down, deserves those three Oscars. Expand
  89. Feb 7, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Portman delivers a brilliant performance in this beautifully illustrated film about a girl picked to be the White Swan in her Ballet group's next performance of Swan Lake, only to go mad from stress and her fear another girl is trying to get her part.

    Kunis came right out of Family Guy to give us her OSCAR Snubbed performance that let's us see her in an all new light!

    The film brings ballet, something that would put a man off by but it captures the thrills and the horror and neatly sows them into place into this artistic picture everyone can enjoy.
  90. Feb 10, 2011
    This movie pulls you in demanding an emotional response and keeping you on edge. Surely this is what movies are all about: making you invest in the story and want to see the outcome, no matter how nail-biting the ride may be. The final ten minutes are stunning, as is Natalie Portman's performance. I could feel her pain and uncertainty. I went away thinking that it was the best performance, and transformation, since Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice". And, having had a schizophrenic child in my household, complete with his delusions of grandeur and hallucinations, I can completely understand the darkness in Portman's character. When she said, "I want it to be perfect" I knew her at once, without the obvious bulimia or scratching or delusions. The people around her had tortured her into becoming the caged animal waiting to break out. Bravo! Expand
  91. Feb 12, 2011
    Beautiful. Real. Spellbinding and intense. Natalie Portman is timid and fragile and utterly hopeless incapable of dancing the Black Swan. The stress and strain of the dancing world is deeper the's a state of being - in perfection. The quest for it is at the loss of so many other things. A loss? Nay, perhaps a worthy compromise. Black Swan is not the fragile, delicate ballerina movie you might expect. Nearer is the comparison to The Sixth Sense, with gripping ferocity amidst bashful vulnerability. Expand
  92. Feb 22, 2011
    One on the most disturbing movie i have ever seen! Portman it's just amazing. Darren Aronofsky made a wonderful direction with this movie. The music of clint mendell its probably one of the best soundtrack of all times.
  93. Feb 24, 2011
    This is the type of movies that elevates cinema as an art to a whole higher level. There's been a very few in the last decade, and "Black Swan" is one of them. It's transcending. It's something else. Makes you remember/realize how powerful movies can be and how they can truly be masterpieces and have a life and a full universe of their own. As disturbingly beautiful as Munch's "Scream" is.
  94. Feb 25, 2011
    One of the best movies I have seen in a while. The directing was absolutely spectacular, and the way the main character's transformation mirrored the storyline of Swan Lake was excellent. Portman is absolutely deserving of an oscar for her performance.
  95. Feb 26, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is one of the best. It has suspense from beginning to end, the actors are great. I love these thrillers. History is great, the script is great. The soundtrack of a touch of suspense in the songs. One of the best films of 2010 to 2011. Expand
  96. Feb 26, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of the best movies of all time. Natalie is great, Aronofsky in his best moment, everything PERFECT! And the OST is amazing, i can't stop listening that. Expand
  97. Feb 28, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An amazing movie with the best spectacular performance of Natalie Portman. It's another good movie by Aronovsky. Undoubtedly worth seeing. Go to the cinema! 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.