Natalie Portman is terrific as the tormented heroine of this heady psychological drama set in the world of ballet.
Her daring performance as an innocent young ballerina driven into madness after winning the lead role in Swan Lake sees her on top form and she won a well deserved Oscar, even if she didn’t do all her own dancing (a discrete double helped with the trickier moves).
Goaded by her manipulative director (Vincent Cassel), bullied by her thwarted ex-dancer mother (Barbara Hershey) and teased by a free-spirited new dancer (Mila Kunis), Portman also struggles with getting to grips with the two halves of her role – the pure White Swan and the evil Black Swan.
As she becomes increasingly paranoid, she unlocks some very disturbing fears, desires, neuroses and obsessions.
Director Darren Aronofsky playfully keeps us guessing as to what’s real and what’s fantasy, creating a delirious, full-blooded melodrama that’s gripping, creepy and utterly compelling.