“Black Swan” is a visual masterpiece, a disturbing character study, and a gut-wrenching psychological horror film. In one of the best films of the year, Darren Aronofsky directs with a bold artistic vision, documenting the rapid mental breakdown of the paranoid, perfectionist ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman). In an Oscar-winning performance, and certainly the best of her career, Portman sheds her sweetheart attitude and travels to new acting depths, at the same time as her character loses her innocence and descends into madness.
In fact, “Black Swan” abounds with artistic parallels. It is a film about ballet, and moreover it is a ballet; it features over-the-top theatricality and uses the nightmarish music of Tchaikovsky's “Swan Lake,” the ballet around which the film is centered.
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