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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Andrés Heinz) | 2 more credits »
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541 ( 106)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 91 wins & 258 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Nina Sayers / The Swan Queen
... Lily / The Black Swan
... Thomas Leroy / The Gentleman
... Erica Sayers / The Queen
... Beth Macintyre / The Dying Swan
... David / The Prince
... Veronica / Little Swan
... Galina / Little Swan
... Madeline / Little Swan
... Andrew / Suitor
... Tom / Suitor
Sergio Torrado ... Sergio / Rothbart
... Mr. Fithian / Patron
... Mrs. Fithian / Patron
... Mr. Stein / Patron (as Abe Aronofsky)
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Storyline

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

Genres:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 December 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cisne negro  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,443,809, 5 December 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$106,954,678

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$329,398,046
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Natalie Portman met her future husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of this film. Portman herself pointed out the irony that his character in the film scoffs when asked if he'd have sex with Nina, and joked that obviously he was a good actor. See more »

Goofs

When Thomas (Vincent Cassel) asks David (Benjamin Millepied) if he can ask him a question, David is standing with arms akimbo. When Thomas asks him whether he would have sex with Nina (Natalie Portman), the mirror behind Thomas shows David standing with his arms crossed. But when the camera cuts to David scoffing at the idea, he is standing with arms akimbo again. Then when Thomas stands up, the mirror behind him shows David standing with arms akimbo but when the camera cuts to Nina, the mirror behind her shows David with his arms crossed again. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in America's Next Top Model: Kristin Cavallari (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Nina Frequency
Written by Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons
Performed by The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers perform courtesy of EMI Records Limited
Contains "Swan Lake" written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely amazing.
28 October 2010 | by See all my reviews

I was lucky enough to see this at the Austin Film Festival and was absolutely blow away.

Aronofsky is, in many ways, like Nick Cave. You know going in that you are going to get something gritty, raw, and real. You know that, even if it's good, it's going to be hard to process. But when he gets a hold of something, really gets a hold of it, you won't be able to look away, no matter how hard it is to watch. He is a singular filmmaker in the regard that he can create something that is both visceral and cerebral at the same time. Others can do this, but few as well. What he does is never hollow, shallow, or empty, it is always dense, deep, and rich with everything that makes film great.

"Black Swan" is no exception. In many ways this is the most Aronofsky of his films. His style is spot on and works exquisitely with the world he is presenting. It's surprising because he normally shows the dirty, gritty, and ugly places, where as everything in this film is clean and polished. But don't let that fool you, he saved the dirt and grit for the characters. It's remarkable that the man who was able to show the sensitive, and vulnerable side of a wrestler is also able to show the brutal and hard side of a ballerina? For starters, this film looks amazing. The production design, specifically the use of black and white in contrast (don't spend time looking for this, it's everywhere and you will miss something if you do) does it's job without feeling invasive. The lighting is brilliant, as is the staging of the dance scenes. I'm still stunned that the same eye that brought the grainy subway bathroom of "Pi" to life is the same eye that brings all this rich and beautiful color so clearly to the screen.

He also does a brilliant job of creating the world that these characters inhabit. This film reminded me of all the terrible parts of my theater days. The backstabbing, the trash talking, and the two faced nature of that world is portrayed with a deft and brilliant touch. There is a constant fear that you are one mistake away from losing not only your part, but your future parts as well. You feel like you are a part of this world, that he pressure of it is part of your world.

The camera work is great, if a little typical of Aronofsky at times (we see the backs of heads quite a bit, it works, but you see it a lot), but it is very affective. The somewhat jittery, close hand-held shots are perfect and pull you deeper into this world than may be comfortable.

Then there are the name performances. Of the name actors you mostly get what you expect. Portman, Cassel, Hershey, and Rider are outstanding. The only real shock, for me anyway, is Mila Kunis. I know her as Jackie from "That 70's Show," and nothing else. She damned near steals the show. That's right, in a move where she shares screen with Natalie Portman, AND Vincent Cassel she is able to not only hold her own, but walk away with some scenes. The interplay between her wild, unrestrained Lilly, and Portman's frightened, tightly wound Nina creates a brilliant external tension to match, and at times overpower, the internal tension that lies at the very core of Nina.

I have been a fan of Aronofsky's work since I saw "Pi" on it's original theatrical run ( I think I was the only person in the theater for that midnight show), and he has yet to disappoint. He has a definite point of view and a thematic core that runs through his work. Thematically, this is in keeping with most of Aronofsky's work. It's about control and the loss of that control. What happens when a perfectionist control freak is in a position where she HAS to let go of that control? What takes over when she does let go? In typical fashion, Aronofsky shows us that sometimes in striving to get what we want, we risk losing a part of us that we may never be able to get back, and don't realize how desperately we need.

Read more from me at www.thefilmthugs.com


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