Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.
Helena Bonham Carter
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
Winona Ryder, who plays the former leading ballerina, only went to one ballet lesson as a child. She never returned, as she thought her teacher was really mean. See more »
In the opening, where Nina is referring to the Bolshoi choreography:
Originally the overture is played with curtains closed; to show Rothbart cursing Odette is a late, American invention from ca 2000. Some ballet companies have picked this up but not the great Russian companies, Bolshoi or Marinsky who stay true to the original. See more »
I had the craziest dream last night. I was dancing the White Swan.
See more »
Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" makes ballet cooland if that isn't a
Herculean feat in itself, I don't know what is. It also happens to be
one of the best films of the year, featuring one of the best
performances of the year. Natalie Portman will be nominated for her
devastating portrayal of petite perfectionist Nina the ballerina or
I'll pull a Werner Herzog and eat my shoe.
"Black Swan" is cut from the same cloth as Aronofsky's 2008 film "The
Wrestler," if at the opposite end. Interestingly, before either project
was realized, the director was reportedly mulling a drama about the
relationship between a professional wrestler and a ballerina. Somewhere
along the way, however, that concept was split down the middleand
thank God. "Black Swan" is brilliant, but it wouldn't necessarily play
well with others.
Like its predecessor, the film examines a physically demanding and
widely unappreciated art, and though thematically similar, the two
complement each other via mutually exclusive cinematic vernaculars.
"The Wrestler" is ultimately a safer film. Its emotional experience is
directly conveyed via plot and dialogue. What Aronofsky attempts with
"Black Swan" is riskier: he plays genre Frankenstein, taking
established themes and transplanting them into that which feels
initially least appropriatehorror.
Yet despite certain unmistakable cues, I'd hesitate to call "Black
Swan" a horror film. Visually, maybe, but John Carpenter insists "The
Thing" is a Western, and likewise there is more to "Black Swan" than is
aesthetically obvious. It probably best fits the psychological thriller
mold, but as Aronofsky suggests through his manipulation of mirrors, it
is not a film that ever casts a clear reflection. For me, that
dichotomy is what makes it so fascinating and rewarding.
"Black Swan" strikes an immediate haunting note that seems to grow
louder with reverberation rather than quieter. In the first half, the
director lays track work; in the second, he runs right off it. Nina
begins her journey receiving the coveted role of the Swan Queen in a
modernist production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake." Her practiced
technique makes her ideal for the role of the goodly White Swan, but
her lascivious director (Vincent Cassel) has reservations about her
ability to portray her evil twin, the titular Black Swana character
that embodies impulse and lust. Nina's process of unlearning takes her
to increasingly dark, surreal depths.
The final act of the film comprises the most riveting 40 minutes I've
seen on screen all year, though "Black Swan" is never the mindf**k some
have improperly labeled it. Aronofsky deliberately builds atmosphere
and anticipation toward a Kubrickian climax that is at once obvious and
stunning. Tchaikovsky's score falls like an aerial assault, and that
inherent theatricality collides with Aronofsky's narrative as they come
to a dual boil.
Perhaps best of all, however, is that for all the audacity on display,
the director knows when to dial it back as well. The casting of Mila
Kunis ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "That 70's Show") was idyllic. She
plays a comic relief of sorts, with a comely, down-to-earth veneer but
viperous eyes. Her performance is fantastically calculatedshe provides
derisive, but much needed perspective on Nina's deteriorating sense of
"Black Swan" is a wholly effective work born from the shadowy underside
of the mind, anchored by a career-defining turn by Portman. It is a
quick, impulsive piece, but it explains artistic devotion and the
consuming nature of obsession as well or better than any film I've ever
seen. In hindsight, it feels more characteristic of the filmmaker
responsible for "Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream" than "The Wrestler,"
though the parallels between it and "Black Swan" run deep.
They may be cut from the same cloth, but the difference between the two
is as stark as black and white. Hail Aronofsky, the Swan King.
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