Black Swan is a dark and surreal story of a ballerina going insane under the pressure of her life and her role.
Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a young dancer who has grown up under the wing of a domineering mother (Barbara Hershey). Nina’s dancing is technically superb, but she is timid, shy and sexually inexperienced. This creates a problem when she wins the coveted lead role in Swan Lake. She seems perfect for the part of the innocent Princess Odette but it is questionable whether she can manage the role of the evil Odile, which is traditionally performed by the same dancer. She feels pressure from a younger rival (Mila Kunis) who seems more able to get in touch with her inner Evil Princess.
This movie is technically superb. Some of the scenes are quite beautiful (and of course Tchaikovsky’s music doesn’t hurt.) However watching the first half is an oppressive experience, and toward the end the horror turns into over-the-top camp. Natalie Portman displays a good dramatic range. I’ll give this a marginal recommendation based on general artistic skill.