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.
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
The production considered setting the film in France and filming in Budapest but the idea was dropped for creative and budgetary reasons. 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.
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I had a lot of fun watching the gorgeous Natalie Portman go through her pirouettes. A film that runs the gamut from "The Red Shoes" to "Repulsion" without reaching the heights of those masterpieces it manages to be an original opus from one of the most interesting directors of late. Darren Aronofsky's confidence is overwhelming. I regret I'll be dead and buried by the time Natalie Portman is 50 but I would give anything to see what this wonderful actress will be by that age. Here, she goes through the motions without avoiding any of the enormous difficulties her character requires. Vincent Cassel plays the French choreographer with a touch of Dhiagelev and oodles of sex appeal. Winona Ryder gives the film its campy touches, which makes the whole enterprise much more accessible than it seems at first. I enjoyed it very much even if I was aware of the effort to be seriously intellectual.
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