Our month-long retrospective of director Darren Aronofsky concludes with his unnerving 2010 drama/thriller, the exceptional Black Swan.
Set in the competitive world of ballet, Black Swan tells the story of a committed dancer’s struggle with perfection, while exploring themes of obsession and control. Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is an aspiring professional ballet dancer who has been consumed with ballet all of her life, and her perfectionism seems to be rewarded when she is offered the lead role in “Swan Lake” at her New York City ballet company. However, new dancer Lily (Mila Kunis) impresses the director, and could present a challenge for the lead role. As the two expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side, and a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
One of the most critically acclaimed films of 2010, Black Swan was nominated for five Academy Awards, and garnered Natalie Portman her first Oscar for her breathtaking performance. Taking inspiration from previous Frida Cinema hits such as Perfect Blue and Suspiria, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan builds a haunting atmosphere around the world of dance that is best experienced on the big screen.
“Fantastically deranged at all times, Darren Aronofsky’s ballet psycho-melodrama is a glittering, crackling, outrageously pickable scab of a film.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique give Black Swan the look of a degraded nightmare and the intensity of a shared hallucination. Dealing in the same grand gestures and overstated themes as its balletic inspiration, Black Swan is a florid, often lurid, completely enthralling film held in place by a disarming Portman, who rarely leaves the frame.” — Keith Phipps, AV Club
“Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’ is a full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times