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Black Swan (2010)

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A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Andrés Heinz) | 2 more credits »
457 ( 32)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 90 wins & 244 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Leroy / The Gentleman
Veronica / Little Swan
Galina / Little Swan
Madeline / Little Swan
Andrew / Suitor
Tom / Suitor
Sergio Torrado ...
Sergio / Rothbart
Mr. Fithian / Patron
Mrs. Fithian / Patron
Abraham Aronofsky ...
Mr. Stein / Patron (as Abe Aronofsky)


Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

17 December 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cisne negro  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,443,809 (USA) (3 December 2010)


$106,952,327 (USA) (29 April 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lily is always wearing black outfits, as well as black underwear to signify her as Nina's opposite, or "Black Swan." See more »


When Nina returns home and looks for her mother, after being assigned a role, a camera operator is visible in a mirror. See more »


[first lines]
Nina Sayers: I had the craziest dream last night. I was dancing the White Swan.
See more »


Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #6.80 (2012) See more »


Dark Sygnet
Written by Jermaine Troy Jacob
Performed by Jakes
Contains "Swan Lake" written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An epic and nightmarish delight
3 December 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Natalie Portman lives a dream and a nightmare when she gets a chance to dance Swan Lake in Darren Aronofsky's new film

Black Swan is a very bi polarized film. Portman dances as the white swan flawlessly, but her 'brilliant' choreographer has doubts about her as the black swan. She needs to 'live a little' and be less mannered, but the closer she gets to that point, the more the walls start to close in all around her.

Darren Aronofsky, though he comes close to being heavy handed, has delivered a project which is fiery, spectacular and clever. He sells us ballet as something dark and off putting, starting from his decision to reveal what dancing does to peoples bodies. One mistake and you can crack a toe nail under your body weight, but I don't wanna oversell it. To look at Black Swan in another way, it is an operatic horror film, It has incredible style, but uses it not so much to dazzle but to confuse and intimidate. The paradox of Black swan is that it creepiness is kind of seductive, because it draws you in (much like the way vampires are supposedly romantic)

But style is only half the picture (not even). The rest is in the cast, and mostly in Natalie Portman. She is slow to get started, but she grows quickly and the result is arguably her best performance yet. I've never loved her that much. She's always struck me as more of a girl than a woman, but I guess all she needs is to get a little blood on her hands, and you have an award worthy performance. Vincent Cassel, though he gets some questionable lines, is also at his best. I would have almost liked to see more of him, because you get the sense that his role has a bit more room to grow.

Black Swan does quite a bit, but it's not for everyone. Do not go into this expecting to be emotionally enriched. From the beginning, it is staged to be a mind-twirl, delighting in playing tricks on the audience. Some might call it cheating, but that would be the wrong way to look at Black Swan. It's quite epic, and with year coming to an end, I think it's fair to say that it is among the best of 2010.

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