Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Black Swan will leave you feeling stunned as you leave the theater. And humming Tchaikovsky.
With Natalie Portman, in the demanding leading role, equaling her director in unquestioned commitment, the central issue for the viewer is how far one is willing to follow the film down the road to oblivion for art's sake.
There's a delirium that runs through Black Swan, a sense of stress and anguish and mad momentum, that's both exhilarating and terrifying.
...what makes Black Swan really special is the immediate way that it works on you if you give yourself over to it. It's a true cinematic experience...
New York Times:
Visceral and real even while it's one delirious, phantasmagoric freakout.
[Aronofsky] demonstrates a ... brilliance that few modern American filmmakers can match.
Wall Street Journal:
The craftsmanship is impressive, the music is powerful and the movie is never uninteresting.
A ballet movie so majestically lurid it almost creates its own genre; a backstage melodrama set in a dark hall of mirrors.
Black Swan is a florid, often lurid, completely enthralling film held in place by a disarming Portman, who rarely leaves the frame.
Taken in the too-much-is-never-enough vein, "Black Swan" is a fantastic experience...
This isn't terribly deep -- most of the thrill is gone by a second viewing -- and you can often feel Aronofsky's exertion. But the movie looms in the memory.
J. R. Jones,
The black/white duality isn't terribly interesting, but as in most of Aronofsky's films, an intense horror of the body and its uncontrollability fuels the rhapsodic psychodrama.
Guiding it all, Natalie Portman's performance as the dying swan is formidable in its nerve-racking expressivity. It is, in fact, a racked nerve, personified.
Dallas Morning News:
It's the kind of nightmare melodrama that rouses the best from director Darren Aronofsky, of a piece with his dark spirals Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler.
At times, Black Swan verges on laughably old school. Still, what a brazen, bold riff on the cost - physical, emotional - of art.
Natalie Portman's take on searing sensuality fused with desperate depression cries out for attention.
Trying to coax a horror-thriller out of the world of ballet doesn't begin to work for Darren Aronofsky.
Los Angeles Times:
It's high-art trash, a kind of "When Tutu Goes Psycho" that so prizes hysteria over sanity that it's worth your life to tell when its characters are hallucinating and when they're not.
Portman, saddled with the near-impossible role of an impenetrable heroine we must care for without ever coming close to understanding, delivers career-high work here...
Practice makes perfectly insane in Black Swan, a tale of one ballerina's psychosexual freakout.
The movie has the Romantics' fascination with death without their spiritual eloquence, which turns morbidity into art.
New York Post:
A delirious fever-dream of a psychosexual thriller starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina descending into madness in far and away the best performance of the year.
New York Observer:
An absurd Freudian nightmare that is more wet dream than bad dream, with all the subtlety of a chain saw.
Wild and woolly, the movie is a breathtaking head trip that hails from a long tradition of backstage melodramas: 42nd Street, A Star Is Born, All About Eve, and, yes, that kitschy '90s relic, Showgirls.
Black Swan makes the contortions of Shutter Island and Inception seem facile by comparison.
A world of talent on display here, but there are as many false "gotcha" moments as you'd find in a run-of-the-mill horror film. This is glossy camp.
Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" is a full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd.
Portman's portrait of an artist under siege is unmissable and unforgettable. So is the movie. You won't know what hit you.
Synthesizing Aronofsky's previous work and foregrounding a breakthrough star performance from Natalie Portman as its tormented protagonist, this is a marvelous construction that's in line for multiple Oscar nominations...
San Francisco Chronicle:
For all its ham-fistedness, it captures something about the tyranny of the ballet world and, by extension, the neurotic imprisonment of female body image.
Portman toils slavishly to realize Aronofsky's mad vision. It isn't her fault that, despite Black Swan's visual splendor and bursts of grand guignol excess, this emotionally inert movie never does grow wings.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The film picks at our deepest anxieties -- injury, disfigurement, loss of a coveted job, loss of identity, loss of sanity. In most fright films, danger lurks in the shadows. Here it's grinning from a mirror.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Portman hasn't been this good since her early performances in The Professional and Heat, and is deservedly attracting intense Oscar buzz. Kunis brings to Lily a savvy sexiness, and Cassel is entertainingly smarmy.
Black Swan is vivid and engrossing, teetering between trash and art, a sleek exploitation borrowing from (among others) Fight Club and The Fly, Mulholland Drive and Persona.
Globe and Mail:
Darren Aronofsky has made one of those rare movies that gets right in your face and demands a response: Love me, hate me, just don't mess with Mister In-Between.
This is Portman's bid for Best Actress at the next Oscars, and it thrills to watch her go for it.
Gee, it's a real woman's movie, and not one of those strenuous heart-warmers about female companionship and compromise.
A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer's all-consuming ambition.
Black Swan is something like a 100-minute swoon. The camera lurches, leaps, and pirouettes; in some scenes, it feels as if it's being tossed around the stage along with Portman. Kitsch this bombastic becomes something primal.
For every moment of exquisite grace, Aronofsky compensates with a shot of bruised toes mercilessly cracking, or someone taking a pair of scissors to the sole of a pink toe shoe.