Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Nina in Black Swan. It is easy to see why. Nina is a neurotic young woman tapped to be the new lead dancer and be both the white and black swans in Swan Lake. Portman delivers the physical and mental fragility of her character without hitting a single false note. Portman is helped by director Darren Aronofsky who has created a very moody, ambivalent, intimately violent, neurotic movie.
Black Swan may be a ballet movie but it is certainly not lightweight girly tutu fare. Nina is a very troubled young woman and her search for what inside her will make her the Black Swan or in other words her search for her dark side consumes her. She starts hearing voices and seeing things.
Nobody around her is on her side. Her mother is manipulative and overprotective though she appears harmless at first. The choreographer (Vincent Cassel) is domineering and only interested in doing what it takes to turn Nina into the Black swan
Director Darren Aronofsky parallels the mental strain Nina is under with very close-up shots of her mangled feet, her picking at her skin, and so on. He can also get very visually and emotionally violent. This is most certainly not a movie for the squeamish.
Black Swan Blu-ray Disc Features: Metamorphosis: A Three-Part Series: A behind the scenes look at the filmmaking process from Darren Aronofsky's visionary directing, to the physically-demanding acting, to the stunning special effects; Behind the Curtain An inside look at the film's costume and production design.; Ten Years in the Making
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky discuss their creative journey, from "preparing for the role" to "dancing with the camera."; Cast Profiles - Roles of a Lifetime Presented by Fox Movie Channel, the stars reflect on the their challenging and rewarding characters
Black Swan DVD Features: Metamorphosis: A Three-Part Series