To Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a ballerina working with a prestigious New York City ballet company, there is no life beyond dancing. When she wins the lead in “Swan Lake,” she is confronted with a harsh reality: She may be the right fit to embody the White Swan; however Lily (Mila Kunis) would make a more powerful Black Swan. As she learns to balance both roles and vies with the other ballerina for the attention of their artistic director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), she slowly loses her mind.
How difficult is it to let go of one’s inhibitions? “Black Swan” answers this question very boldly: The difficulty is tremendous. And if you have inherited those inhibitions from an overbearing mother like Nina’s (Barbara Hershey), things can be very dangerous.
“Black Swan” is a brilliant but disturbing look at the inner workings of the human mind that must navigate its way through the confines of claustrophobic settings. Natalie Portman truly deserves her Oscar win (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role). She literally strips herself bare on the screen, giving her character such depth and intensity that she almost carries the entire film on her dancing shoulders. While Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey are quite convincing, Mila Kunis’ acting is not as natural.
I loved “Black Swan” but would not recommend it to everyone. The film is rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use.
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder.
Director: Darren Aronofsky