|Darren Aronofsky director||previously directed The Wrestler|
Psychological thriller that centers on the life of Nina, who wins the lead role in 'Swan Lake'. While trying to get into character, Nina experiences strange disturbances and is convinced the newest ballerina, Lilly is after her spot.
Selected to open the 2010 Venice Film Festival.7 More Trivia
The camera spins while Nina dances, in the same style as this Ballet film.4 More Movie References
5 More Quotes
I felt it. I was perfect. I was perfect.
|Andres Heinz||story / screenplay|
|John J. McLaughlin||screenplay|
|Natalie Portman||Nina Sayers / The Swan Queen|
|Mila Kunis||Lilly / The Black Swan|
|Vincent Cassel||Thomas Leroy / The Gentleman|
|Barbara Hershey||Erica Sayers / The Queen|
|Winona Ryder||Beth Macintyre|
|Benjamin Millepied||David / The Prince|
|Ksenia Solo||Veronica / Little Swan|
|Kristina Anapau||Galina / Little Swan|
|Janet Montgomery||Madeline / Little Swan|
|Sebastian Stan||Andrew / Suitor|
|See Full Credits|
Nina Sayers (Portman) awakens in her apartment after having a dream in which she is dancing the lead in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Sayers, a dancer, lives at home and is part of a New York City ballet company that is starting its new season with the show from Nina’s dream. The group’s dancers all put on their best performances during rehearsal as Beth (Ryder), the previous lead, has “retired” due to her age. Despite dedicating herself to winning the lead role, the director, Thomas Leroy (Cassel) tells Nina in private that he believes she is only capable of playing half the role. While Nina shows the precision and innocence of the White Swan, she lacks the dark, sexual energy of the Black Swan.
Thomas’s opinion is validated when Nina quietly accepts his decision without trying to use her sexuality to win him over. Thomas kisses Nina but she rebukes him by biting his lip. More impressed than upset, Thomas casts her as the lead, much to Nina’s surprise. Following a gala event in which Nina is presented for the theatres patrons, Thomas invites her back to his apartment before Beth interrupts, warning her that he’ll discard Nina the same way he did her. At his apartment, Thomas pries into Nina’s sexual history and asks her to masturbate as a way of preparing for the role of the Black Swan.
Following the event, the theatre is struck by the news that Beth was in a car accident. A disappointing rehearsal leads to a private lesson between Thomas and Nina, which culminates in Thomas seducing her, which upsets him as the dance calls for the opposite to happen. Left crying and alone, Nina is found by Lily (Kunis), a new addition to the group who tries to strike up a conversation. Nina’s perfectionism contrasts heavily with Lily’s carefree attitude and she becomes angry with her when Thomas finds out about Nina’s frustration.
Over the course of preparing for the show Nina’s mental state has deteriorated quickly. At home, she develops a strange rash, much to the chagrin of her overprotective mother (Hershey). Additionally, she begins to have hallucinations, often featuring a doppelgänger. Despite her reclusive nature, Nina eventually takes up Lily on an offer to go out on the town. After heavy drinking and drug use, the two returns to Nina’s home and have sex to spite Nina’s vocally disapproving mother.
Hungover and at odds with her mother, Nina arrives late to rehearsal to find Lily dancing in her place. Suspicious of Lily’s intent, Nina wonders why Lily didn’t wake her up that morning, but Lily claims the two never shared the evening tryst, much to Nina’s embarrassment. As the show’s start date quickly approaches, the stress caused by her inability to satisfy Thomas as the Black Swan makes Nina increasingly jealous of Lily, who she suspects is trying to sabotage her. This suspicion is supported by Thomas’ casting of Lily as the backup for the lead role.
Despite her paranoia, a dress rehearsal for the show’s premiere reaches its climax with Nina, as the White Swan, hurling herself off the stage to the safety of a mattress. Thomas remarks that he is finally seeing Nina dance the Black Swan to his liking. Following another bout of hallucinations at the studio, Nina visits Beth in the hospital to return some stolen items, including a nail file. Nina breaks down in front of Beth and expresses her newfound understanding of what being the lead requires but Beth is irate, screaming at Nina before stabbing herself repeatedly with the nail file. Nina rushes home and her reaction to the hallucinations attracts her mother, who is injured by Nina trying to shut the door on her. The hallucinations culminate with Nina’s eye’s becoming blood red and her knees bending backwards, causing her to hit her head on her bedpost and collapse.
Nina awakens to find her mother in her room, having just called the theatre saying Nina would not be coming to the show’s opening performance. Distraught, Nina hurries to the theatre where she manages to convince Thomas that she is ready for the debut. During the opening act, Nina falls at one point, which she believes was caused by Lily manipulating her dance partner. Nina is confronted by Lily in the dressing room during the first act break. She claims she should be the one to dance the Black Swan in the next act, and proceeds to choke Nina. Furious, Nina throws Lily into a mirror, and uses a broken shard to stab her. Horrified at what she’s done but determined to keep going, Nina hides the body and returns to the stage.
Now dressed as the black swan, the transformation begins again, as Nina’s eyes change colour and her skin takes on the appearance of a plucked bird’s. At the crescendo Nina is enveloped in the black wings that were once her arms and her performance is met with overwhelming applause from the audience. As the Black Swan, Nina leaves the stage and passionately kisses a stunned Thomas. At the last act break, Nina changes back to her White Swan costume but is interrupted by a knock at the door. It’s Lily, alive and in awe of Nina’s performance. Shocked, Nina discovers that she is bleeding from her stomach, having stabbed herself, not Lily. Undeterred, Nina returns to the stage and finishes her performance, falling back into the mattress off stage. As her cast mates surround her and give congratulations, Lily gasps as she sees Nina bleeding. A panicked Thomas asks Nina what happened and she can only respond by saying that she was finally “perfect”. The roar from the audience is all that can be heard as the screen fades to white and Nina’s fate is ultimately left unknown.
Video Feature: December 2010 Releases
Alex and Rorie take a look at some of the December 2010 theatrical releases.
2010 Fall Movie Preview
Alex and Rorie discuss the upcoming fall film schedule.
Black Swan Trailer
Scope out this new trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival ballerinas.
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