movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Black Swan

 (15)
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  Black Swan Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
 
Average Rating
7.34 /10
 
Starring
Natalie Portman , Mila Kunis , Vincent Cassel
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Mark Heyman, Andrew Heinz, John McLaughlin

 
 
 
Released: 2010
   
Genre: DRAMA
UNDERRATED
THRILLER
   
Origin: US
   
Length: 103
 
 


 
MIXED Reviews

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Black Swan is ridiculously over the top, but in a way that makes it fascinating to watch.
(Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Is Black Swan high-minded? I'm happy to say: No. It is extremely high-grade hokum, which is to say it offers several different and combustible varieties.
(Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
Lurid and voluptuous pulp fun, with a sensationalistic fairy-tale allure. You can't take it too seriously, but you can't tear your eyes away from it, either.
(Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)
A near-irresistible exercise in bravura absurdity, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan deserves to become a minor classic of heterosexual camp - at the very least, it's the most risible and riotous backstage movie since Showgirls.
(J. Hoberman, Village Voice)
Like all his (Aronofsky) films, it's lurid, visually stimulating, thoughtful, absurd in spots, well-cast and unrelentingly intense.
(Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer)
Aronofsky blurs the line between reality and fantasy, turning the film into a gothic horror show that is fascinating and disappointing in equal measure. What's resplendently real, though, is the beauty of Ms. Portman's performance. She makes the whole lurid tale worthwhile.
(Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
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.
(J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader)
For all its dazzling allure, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, a feverishly psycho thriller set in the hermetic world of classical ballet, proves a meaningless exercise in Grand Guignol exhibitionism.
(Jeannette Catsoulis, NPR)
Me, I'm of two minds about a movie that wants to be a nail-ripping thriller and a statement on an artist's unholy communion with her role. It's reminiscent of older, better movies.
(Richard Corliss, Time)
A love-it-or-hate-it movie. Put me in the (sort of) hate-it column. My slight qualification here is because Darren Aronofsky's movie starring Natalie Portman as an increasingly unhinged ballerina gets points for being unlike anything else that's out there.
(Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor)
It's perfectly possible to tire of the director's gothic-horror tropes and the script's psychological banalities — I certainly did — without ever losing sight of Miss Portman's wonderful performance, or the scariness of Barbara Hershey as Nina's madly ambitious mother.
(Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
Shot with a mixture of documentary-style handheld and traditional set-ups, Aronofsky’s film has a lush surface and strong momentum, but he undermines the story’s seriousness with horror shock effects and the absurdly over-ripe dialogue. Black Swan amounts to less than what meets the eye, but often what meets the eye – especially in Portman’s entrance as the title character – is gorgeous.
(LIam Lacey, Toronto Globe and Mail)
Some viewers may find themselves put off by the melodramatic tone. Barbara Hershey as Nina’s smothering mother doesn’t do the film any favours in the credibility stakes: initially all smiles, hugs and words of encouragement, just when Aronofsky needs more ammo withn which to bombard his lead, she mutates into a crazed, over-protective harridan who resents her daughter’s spell in the limelight. But, quibbles with its tenuous connection to reality aside, this is a thrilling slab of old-fashioned Hollywood pulp. And for those who like a flutter, Portman seems like a surefire early bet for a Best Actress Oscar nom.
(David Jenkins, Time Out)
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, which opened the Venice Film Festival last night, is bravura moviemaking: a wildly ambitious psychodrama about a ballerina consumed with angst and jealousy as she prepares for her biggest role. The film looks bound to win its star, Natalie Portman, plaudits and award nominations for her searing performance as the ambitious but insecure Nina. Some of the international press in Venice seemed discomfited by the sheer extravagance of Aronofsky's directorial style – his attempts to introduce thriller and even horror movie elements to what at first seems a traditional backstage story. Like Nina herself, the director often risks losing his footing but that is what makes the filmmaking so exhilarating. Some scenes are overwrought. Others (notably a clumsily shot lesbian sequence) verge on the prurient. More often, the effect is enthralling... The idea of the ballerina so obsessed by her desire for perfection that she dances herself toward destruction may be cliched, but when executed with this much brio and imagination, it resonates.
(Geoffrey MacNab, Independent)
Delirious hokum, high-class trash.
(Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph)
This is a movie abut fear of penetration, fear of your body, fear of being supplanted in the affections of a powerful man, love of perfection, love of dance, and, perhaps most importantly of all, passionate and overwhelming hatred of your mother... Black Swan is ionospherically over the top, and some of its effects are overdone, but it is richly, sensually enjoyable.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

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