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Black Swan More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Boring, yawn, boring.

Author: NuGram from United States
2 May 2011

What an over-hyped disappointment. Other than watching Natalie Portman act for a hundred minutes, this movie was extremely tedious since I didn't care a thing about any of the characters. None of the characters were engaging, the directing was disjointed and uninteresting, the sex was sophomoric and gratuitous, and I'm glad others had forewarned so I only wasted time and not money on this C- yawn. Reminds me of Basic Instinct with a wannabe baby Esterhaus director struggling for a manipulative plot to justify some sexual titillation and hopefully get buzz. The best thing about this movie was the actual ballet performances. Unfortunately they were few and what was in between didn't justify the wait. What a waste, save your time and money.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:


Author: kmrarm from United States
9 July 2011

I was so disappointed in this film. I had heard from others that it was not very good, but it was actually worse than I imagined.

1. Not one character in the movie was likable. 2. Natalie Portman looks like she is about to burst into tears through most of the movie. 3. I thought some of the actors had ballet lessons, but it was not evident in the film. If you are a ballet lover, then you will probably be disappointed. 4. I was underwhelmed by the special effects, even though they were the highlight of the film.

First, I thought this was a film about ballet. Then I thought it was about insanity. Then I realized it was supposed to be a horror film. Finally I realized I just didn't care.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Transparent and Superficial

Author: wmhogg from Madison, WI
1 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was late in seeing this movie due to work and travel obligations, so I eagerly awaited my chance to rent the DVD and be able watch this award-winning film.

First of all, I'm a big Natalie Portman fan, so I don't fault her in any of my criticism.

However, the movie was so transparent that it was very disturbing that the writers and directors didn't try to lead you down the path where you had to keep guessing, like in Fight Club and Shutter Island.

Instead, I knew from the beginning that Nina had driven off of a cliff and the rest of the movie was watching the bits and pieces of life pass by before she inevitably crashed on the ground below. The ending was never in doubt.

It was so clever to have a womanizing director demanding quid pro quo for his favors in his starlets' ballet careers. I've never seen that before.

As a psychological drama, this fails on many fronts and seems to have been geared toward pretty unsophisticated viewers, that is if they felt that they were fooling anyone about what was happening in the whole movie. They may not have intended to fool anyone at all, which would make the movie even worse.

That said, Natalie did a great job as usual.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Black Swan...haha.. more like black mark!

Author: Banjo Moonfry from United States
17 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

CLEARLY! everyone who has made a review, has ignored the GIANT ELEPHANT! in the room. Although, Natalie Portman, did a decent job executing the role of the Swan Queen, she did it in a very round-about, promiscuous way, that I found COMPLETELY unnecessary.

This movie was completely pornographic, and quite frankly I lost count with how many sex scenes & sexual innuendos where plastered all throughout it's short duration. Apparently, most of the reviewers are okay with the highly vivid and offensive sexual content and for that, congratulations. I'm ecstatic that you enjoyed every repulsive moment of The Black Swan, but however; for some unforeseen reason, this movie got a rating of R, which it really deserved and X or NC17. Needless to say, I was EXTREMELY disappointed and disgusted by the movie was portrayed.

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Well-made pretension

Author: john_meyer from Central Coast, CA
24 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the worst movies I have seen in many years. I know that it has been hailed by many as daring and original and artistic. However, in reality it is monotonous, dreary, and populated by single-dimensional caricatures who play the same part in every scene.

Portman won the Oscar® for her performance, and much was made of her dancing, both the fact that she trained for more than a year and also that her stunt double didn't get any credit. Well, as someone who has spent forty years going to the ballet, and as someone married to a ballet dancer, I can state that this movie has some of the worst ballet dancing ever recorded in a movie.

Finally, all the metaphors in this failed movie are trite, and some quite laughable. For instance, the appearance of actual feathers, at least in the mind of the crazed black swan, is one of the oldest lines in reviews of "Swan Lake:" "She was so convincing you could actually see the feathers" is a typical review line that I've read many times over the years.

In this case, I didn't need to see the feathers, and I didn't need to see the movie.

If you want to see a great ballet movie about a ballerina going mad as art and reality follow parallel paths, rent the timeless classic "The Red Shoes." That too won awards, but it was a great movie, and the dancing is mesmerizing.

This effort is just well-made pretension.

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A film about mental disease

Author: Luis Dantas ( from Brazil
24 February 2011

I'm underwhelmed. The film seems to be vastly over-rated, if not all-out misunderstood.

Far as I can tell it is a depiction of schizophrenia and of the dangers of losing control. I wasn't too surprised to learn that it has the same creator as Requiem for a Dream, for the resemblance is indeed strong.

What I liked least was the depiction of drug use - I liked Portman's character way too much to see her depicted as so weak-willed. But really, the film makes the most sense as a straight depiction of the slow advance of schizophrenia, with perhaps a bit of warning against drug use thrown in for good measure. It would be a better film if it did not take so much refuge in ambiguity and hallucinations, however.

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Duck soup

Author: SDAim from Southern California
23 February 2011

Everyone has posted some really good and lengthy critiques of this film, so I'll keep this short. I wasn't ready for the unintentionally funny, W-A-A-A-A-A-Y over the top, and completely silly plot twists in "Black Swan" -- I figured with all the Oscar buzz and nominations, it had to be decent. Wow.

That having been said, I have no problem with Natalie Portman's nomination because I've always felt she is a good actress, and she obviously put her heart and soul into this very physically demanding roll. I wouldn't, however, be completely shocked if Annette Benning pulls the upset on Sunday.

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:


Author: Frognal32 from United Kingdom
13 April 2011

Awful does not even start to describe this! I was tempted to walk out from the time it started and only having my lovely girlfriend by my side kept me in. Natalie Portman is amazing - to lose so much weight and then to learn how to look as if you can dance, her acting is also superb, really want to see her again. But all her brilliance was totally wasted by a clueless plot and directing. I suppose the movie would appeal to you if you like seeing dysfunctional families and believe that one can only get the top job (be it prima ballerina or a James Bond girl) in the industry by sleeping with the right people, then this is a movie for you. Frankly, this on is an absolute stinker. Don't waste your time and money - better buy a special edition of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, gift pack of Paolo Di Canio's best goals or even David Beckham's biography. Even that will be a better investment.

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Worst spent 2 hours in my life

Author: Raluca Ilie (
18 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, so everyone was telling me about how good this movie was. I found it kind of curious that it won the Oscar just for the Best Actress section, as they had told me that it was way better than the King's Speech, which I found glorious, but I found the time to watch it anyway. The disappointment! I truly think that if this movie hadn't starred Natalie Portman, it would have remained anonymous or, anyway, nobody would have talked about it this much! OK, so she is good as what she does and the sexual themes really contribute at this film's success, but what is there to see beyond this? Basically nothing. It's a ballerina's drama, which we don't understand if it comes from her past or because she is given the lead role (!!!), so basically it's about a lesbian psycho unable to come out. It's not about the dancing, it's not about art, it's just a trashy way of saying that there are disordered people out there. I think the movie could have been a lot better if it was less violent and less predictable. I knew how it was going to end like from half-way through it. Sorry, I can't agree this is a good film. I regret having watched it and I hope people will read this and change their minds about going to see it. It's just not worth your time!

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A Failure of Character Development

Author: jleecbd-959-192731
24 January 2011

If the Black Swan deserves any awards, it is likely the "Emperor's New Clothes Award". After watching the film, I can't help but think that everyone feels that they are supposed to fawn over this film because it is supposedly artsy, and contains one of the hottest talents in Hollywood right now (I think Portman has something like 5 movies releasing in a 12 month period). Of course, the lesbian scene probably has something to do with the need for all of us to love the movie, as well.

The reality, however, is that the movie fails to live up to its purported goals, or even come close. Portman plays a character with essentially one facial expression throughout the movie (with the exception of her expressions during the unfortunate, and crass, sex scenes). That expression is one that makes her appear as if she is about to burst into tears at any moment. Although the movie is supposed to chronicle her developing the Black Swan personality, we have to rely on characters in the movie, most notably the company director, to assure us it is happening. Nothing shifts in Portman's portrayal of the character to clue you in to this change. Whether this is due to her acting skills or the director's skills, I can't completely say. However, thinking back on V for Vendetta, the most interesting character in that movie was the one wearing the mask. Portman's character, while somewhat interesting, undergoes a sudden shift toward the end of the movie, similar to that in Swan, while we are deprived of really observing the subtle transition.

Rather than watching her become the Swan, I spent the entire movie waiting for her to have the role stripped and handed to someone else. It is never believable that she is given the role in the first place, and as opening night approaches, it is impossible to believe that she isn't given the boot, because nothing about her has changed. Yes, she does yell at her mom, but that is hardly some significant character development.

The only two highlights to the movie are the cinematography, which creates a wonderful air of foreboding, "grit", and darkness around the entire movie (and facilitates a reasonably good handling of her descent from extreme neurosis to insanity - although that is not a terribly long journey), and the dancing itself.

Actually, to be fair, when Portman plays the Black Swan for the actual show, she does a tremendous job portraying that character. Unfortunately, like in Vendetta, there is nothing in her portrayal of the character up to that point that allows you to observe and experience the transition.

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