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April 17th, 2014

Black Swan Movie Review

Black Swan Movie ReviewIt took about a half hour after the projector shut off for me to pick my jaw up off the ground after watching Black Swan. Finally, I mused, a movie worth seeing. A movie that’s not awash in nonsense hype and diminished returns, but a flick that gets under your skin and rattles around in your head for days after watching it.

Darren Aronofsky has crafted a wonderful and frightening character study of Nina (Natalie Portman, in a role I hope gets her many shiny metal statues) a ballerina who’s suddenly thrust to the lead of the her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. Jealousy from the other ballerinas, including Mila Kunis’ Lily, becomes just one of the many problems as the pressures begin building in Nina’s mind. Can she achieve what she needs to so that she can embrace the “Black Swan”? Is Vincent Cassel, the head of the ballet company, just trying to get in her pants or does he believe she’s a great dancer?

And most important, will there be a hot Portman-Kunis make out session, at least?

(The answer to the last question is yes).

Portman is utterly fearless in her portrayal of this girl; her determination, her drive, her paranoia (which might be unwarranted). The strained stage-mom relationship she has with her mother, (wonderfully played by Barbara Hershey) seems familiar, but it’s the singer, not the song, and these two duet just fine. Lots of talk will be devoted to her weight loss, or the aforementioned Kunis make out session, but there’s no denying that Portman has fulfilled a promise she made way back when she blew our minds as young Mathilda.

Aronofsky has finally found an appropriate blend of his styles and talents. It has the subtle fly-on-the-wall style of The Wrestler mixed with the intensity of Requiem For A Dream. On paper, that sounds like ti could be terrible, but he pulls it off like a pro. He invokes styles and filmmakers from the past, everyone from Polanski’s Repulsion and Argento’s giallo work, to some of the grandiose DePalma efforts, and with a few nice Cronenberg-ian touches. Again, it sounds like a difficult blend to keep consistent, and yet, he pulls it off, delivering an unparalleled entertainment.

It helps that Aronofsky has solid collaborators. His usual DP Matthew Libatique is back, and produces some gorgeous shots. Most of them involve mirrors, and I have no idea how some of these shots are pulled off, even with digital trickery. The sound design is particularly choice, see this film in the best sounding theater you can. And Clint Mansell… I defy you to name a better composer working today. His interpretation of the Swan Lake cues are pitch perfect, quite rousing. Almost brought me to tears.

I can’t recommend Black Swan enough. It’s well worth your time, and don’t be surprised if you can’t shake it out of your head for a few days later. Or look at nail scissors the same way again.




12 Comments


  1. Djchris10

    I just saw this movie tonight and I can’t sleep because this movie is so so so so goood… I couldn’t even breath when i left the theater. It was that intense… Natalie Portman in this film is fucking crazy… she has absolutely lost her mind… She is so convincing that at some points I was truly frightened for her. Black Swan is a masterpiece. Please go see it. And if Portman, Kunis, Herhersy and Cassel don’t all get oscar nods I will goblack swan on everybody asses.


  2. Djchris10

    I just saw this movie tonight and I can’t sleep because this movie is so so so so goood… I couldn’t even breath when i left the theater. It was that intense… Natalie Portman in this film is fucking crazy… she has absolutely lost her mind… She is so convincing that at some points I was truly frightened for her. Black Swan is a masterpiece. Please go see it. And if Portman, Kunis, Herhersy and Cassel don’t all get oscar nods I will goblack swan on everybody asses.


  3. As Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” gains popular awareness, it’s not unusual to hear: “Oh, you mean the psycho ballerinas movie”. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star in the psycho-sexual thriller as said psycho ballerinas. Aronofsky has crafted a gut-wrenching film of disturbed metamorphosis, tragic repression and visceral beauty. In other words, it’s a radiant film that’s effectively difficult to watch, and I mean that in a good way…
    Read my full review: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6110806/darren_aronofskys_black_swan_movie.html?cat=40


  4. Robmorgan

    One of the worst films eve. Total kitsch with a dash of fake avant garde. What a total mess!


    • Jared

      Well aren’t you special! You know, bashing a great movie doesn’t make you more look anymore regal than you already think you are. With the majority saying this is an exceptional movie, I’d say your irrational and unjustified view is quite the minority.


  5. sleepless in the east bay

    I saw the film last night and have not been able to sleep yet. (It’s afternoon.) Oscar nominations for the main characters aside, cinematic technicalities with them, this movie’s theme is so compelling, that the emotional/mental disturbance in the main character, becomes itself an actor. I understand why some viewers distance themselves from the film, others resort to “been there/done” analysis. A few friends and family members have gone through some serious mental disorders, continue to be treated, are currently stabilized. I found myself horrified at the degree of pain they endured in not knowing from one moment to the next what was real and who they were/ could trust. Natalie Portman’s portrayal is still working itself around the corners of my mind. Not a film to take even older children to (R), though some people, uninformed, do.


    • Khjewel

      I really liked your review. I’m 16 and I love horror films… would it be suitiable for me, or do you think it would be too scary. Like compare it too, Orphan, or one of the Halloween movies. (which I’ve seen)


    • Khjewel

      I really liked your review. I’m 16 and I love horror films… would it be suitiable for me, or do you think it would be too scary. Like compare it too, Orphan, or one of the Halloween movies. (which I’ve seen)


  6. LANCEKIM6

    HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Alisha

    Awesome movie. For once I thought I got my money’s worth! Full of suspense and twisted surprises. Natalie Portman was AMAZING!



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