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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and disturbing
I watched this expecting to find it a bit pretentious. However, I loved it! It was extremely odd, but compelling - primarily an exploration of one girl's fight for perfection and the madness she drives herself to. I particularly enjoyed the way that as a viewer you are left unsure which parts are reality and which part her imagination. Critics have noted it's not a...
Published on 24 Sept. 2012 by LMK

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars black swan
once again l build myself up only to be disappointed but l am sure l am in the minority here
Published 8 months ago by house elf


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and disturbing, 24 Sept. 2012
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I watched this expecting to find it a bit pretentious. However, I loved it! It was extremely odd, but compelling - primarily an exploration of one girl's fight for perfection and the madness she drives herself to. I particularly enjoyed the way that as a viewer you are left unsure which parts are reality and which part her imagination. Critics have noted it's not a real presentation of ballet - I think that's true, so don't watch if that's what you're after. Also I saw one reviewer mentioned unnecessary sex scenes - although they are fairly graphic, I felt they were an integral part of the destruction of the character. Certainly not an "easy" watch, nor designed to be fun, but very intelligent (lots of metaphor throughout) and Portman was excellent. I recommend if you enjoy something a little dark and different.
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99 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 18 July 2011
Firstly lets get a few things straight. This is not a movie for twee middle class mums to watch with their daughters about being a ballet dancer. Many reviewers seem to think that would be the case. Be warned it is not. The 15 certificate may have given it away. 15 years ago it would have been an 18.

It is a very dark and bleak study of a top ballerina. And believe me Natalie Portman is outstanding. I know nothing about ballet but she seems to have put her heart and soul into this role.

Brilliantly directed, fantastically edited, superbly acted this is a visceral movie of the highest order. But as said earlier this will not be for everyone!!!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Swan., 17 July 2011
This review is from: Black Swan [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Seeing a new film from Darren Aronofsky is always cause for excitement, and Black Swan is arguably his best to date, mixing elements of The Red Shoes, Repulsion and Suspiria to awesome effect. Reminiscent in many ways of his debut feature Pi, the film is a master class in genre cinema, with the tension and surreal madness being orchestrated to fever pitch. It's a real assault on the senses, bombarding the viewer with increasingly weird imagery and loud, frantic bursts of opera and classical music. Aronofsky walks a thin line between madness and genius in his movies, and you are never really sure which side he spends more time on. His previous films can justifiably be classified as being disturbingly brilliant, or brilliantly disturbed depending on your point of view, and Black Swan is no different. His movies are not what you might describe as being "feel good", but they all are capable of evoking reactions in the audience. That reaction may not always been what they want to feel, but it is always deliberate, and always well done. Aronofsky's films are not always well received (especially The Fountain, which was critically and commercially panned), but they can be respected for what they attempt.

The film revolves around Natalie Portman's Nina Sayers, a woman who has dedicated herself completely to the ballet and the art of dance, that it has stunted her development in many ways. She is cold and isolated, and has difficulty relating to people, while still retaining a purity and naivety that teeters between innocence and cowardice. She is afraid of everything, but has no idea why. Fueling this repression is Nina's mother Erica, a former dancer who achieved only moderate success, and now lives vicariously through her daughter. When it is announced that the star of the show, Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) has been made to retire, the remaining dancers all compete to win the coveted role of the Swan Queen in the first production of the season, a role that will elevate the dancer to fame. The movie hits its stride about 3/5 through, as Nina begins to change, both physically and mentally. She undergoes a form of mental torture that she subjects herself too, and this is where the genius and madness of Aronofsky shines.

Portman delivers what is arguably the best performance of her career, you pity her and you feel for her, but you are also frustrated and annoyed by her reluctance to embrace her opportunities. The actual dancing also plays a major role in the film, and Aronofsky approaches it in such a way that without wasting much time in lengthy explanations, you understand the logic of the ballet and its insulated world. The film looks fantastic on Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.40:1) which looks every bit like it did in theaters. Filmed with a combination of digital cameras and Super 16, the stylized picture comes with a thick grain structure and restrained contrast levels.

Whites remain crisp and bright nonetheless, and the textured grittiness weirdly adds to the movie's grimly surreal theme on psychosis. Theres plenty of special features including Black Swan Metamorphosis (HD, 49 min) -- This three-part featurette is essentially a making-of doc that looks at the early stages of production and moves into the final phases with some digital touch-ups. A trailer, along with some interviews with the cast and Fox Movie Channel Presents (SD, 23 min) -- Which is a series of five promo pieces that originally aired on the Fox Movie Channel program called "In Character" grouped together, but appear separate in the bonus area. Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is a masterful psychological thriller set in the physically and mentally demanding world of ballet. It's a beautifully photographed but a creepy film that harkens to Roman Polanski's early works and features an enthralling performance from Natalie Portman. I highly recommend this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Interesting, Just don't Read the Blurb, 30 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Black Swan [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This film follows Natallie Portman as an ambitions and determined ballet dancer hoping to get a lead role in swan lake that requires her to perform as the White and Black Swan. She is a great dancer but the roles need different styles and she is better suited one than the other. The film follows her trying to succeed in the duel role.

Don't be mistaken though that this is a Ballet version of Flashdance, it's very dark and horrible in places and I don't just mean drama, some bits had me looking away from the screen. However the story is interesting, even compelling, and it's great trying to work out what on earth is going on as some weird things happen. If you read the blur though, as we did only afterwards, I'm sure a lot of that fun in speculating is removed as I think it tells you a bit too much so avoid if you can.

Great performances by Cassel and Portman and great to see a little cameo from Winona Ryder. Interesting but challenging film.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The darker side of creativity, 7 July 2011
By 
A. Belcadenza (Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This film is not residing in the middle of the road. It definitely has an original, darker stroke fitting well with the title. Nathalie Portman pays her dues for her Oscar in a great performance, showing off a wide pallette of emotional expressions. Though we've seen the "if you want fame, you gotta pay with sweat" theme before, this movie goes further into the darker quarters of how the human mind responds to stress overload. The main character is an ambitious young ballerina, working hard with her dancing, dreaming of doing the lead role in a famous ballet production. To achieve her goal, she evidently has to face more stress than her mind can bear. The deeper she sinks into mental exhaustion, the more she is plagued with hallucinations and paranoia and her tense relation to the ballet production director doesn't make things easier. This movie is definitely more than a chick flick for wanna-be-ballerinas and it takes a peak behind the curtain, depicting the thin line between hard work and being absorbed in absurdum with a task. The director included a couple of graphically explicit, lesbian sex scenes. If they add substance to the story is to be debated. I guess the director didn't dare to omit this oldest trick in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Side of Ballet, 19 Mar. 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Let’s face it, mum's send their little girls off to ballet lessons and perhaps push them that little bit harder, but ballet at the top is much more than just prancing around in a tutu. Nina's mum gave up her ballet to bring up her daughter, who she wants to live her life through her. Nina is quite sensitive to start off with, but when she wants the part of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake, things start to get harder.

With her teacher not sure that she can play the role of the Black Swan, and fears that another dancer is also after the part Nina finds herself being pushed over the edge. Starting to hallucinate, her life starts to change as she heads towards the final climax, her playing of the Swan Queen. But will Nina be able to survive such a demanding role, when her sanity is already crumbling around her?

This is a really good dark film that draws you in and holds your attention. Also available is a code so that you can also download a digital version to your iPod, etc. If you thought ballet was for sissies, think again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable!, 2 Nov. 2013
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I'm always a little wary of films which have received a lot of hype and this one was no exception. So many of my friends enthused about it and urged me to watch it, so I finally gave in and decided to find out for myself if it really deserved all the praise and plaudits. I have to say that this film more than exceeded my expectations and they were very high! Natalie Portman is always watchable anyway but her performance as the ambitious ballet dancer Nina, who is becoming increasingly unhinged, is outstanding. Watching her character unravel, I went through so many different emotions, I was positively wrung out at the end. I think that my heart fractured slightly, watching everything her character goes through. The performances of the main leads are all exceptional, in particular, Barbara Hershey, who gives an emotionally taut performance as Nina's mother. The choreography is amazing and the ballet scenes are mesmerizing. All in all, I would say that this film comes as close to perfection as any film possibly could. It's haunting, chilling, disturbing, offbeat and brilliant!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and disturbing, 24 Jan. 2012
SOME SPOILERS I recently overheard two teenagers comment that they want to be "Black Swan thin". After watching the film I can see why, Natalie Portman looks stunningly fragile as bulimic Nina. She has no sign of the rotting teeth and bad skin some bulimics have. She does, however, start to have hallucinations. Whether this is due to her eating disorder or the pressure of being cast as the lead in Swan Lake is unclear. This film is packed with symbolism and I think I will need to watch it again before I can begin to fully understand it. Natalie Portman is perfectly cast and her portrayal of Nina's descent into madness is utterly convincing. It seems to begin when she allows the Black Swan part of her new role take her over. She is usually an uptight perfectionist but she lets her guard down and goes out with another ballerina, Lilly who is mischevous, sexy and very devious. Lilly's character was less convincing. I am not sure how many ambitious ballerinas would have their backs heavily tattooed, surely a drawback when wearing traditional costume? Nina is stifled by the weight of her Mother's expectations and resentment. She has absolutely no privacy, her mother even undresses her at bedtime and puts her in a bedroom fit for a seven year old. Her mother has taught Nina to be totally subservient and there is the slightest hint of sexual abuse. Nina is bullied and manipulated by just about everyone and eventually even the viewer becomes confused about what is real and what is her paranoia. Winona Ryder plays aging ballerina, Beth and her role brings a touch of horror to the film. There is a very explicit sex scene and ten years ago this film would probably have been given an 18 Certificate. I suspect the director got around this by limiting the nudity. A terrific film but not one to watch with your ballet-mad ten year old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black, 21 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Black Swan [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I do not know if the option of the director, but the image is quite grainy, but not interfere at any time in the magnificent work of Aronofsky and the exceptional performance of Natalie Portman
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'SUPERBLY INTENSE', 10 July 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Swan [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A tale in which 'Nina' ( Natalie Portman ) is consumed within the ballet 'Swan Lake'
Obsessed by failure, oppressed by her mother, 'Nina' lives out her fantisies within the story itself.
The film is intense, beautiful yet sad, and like the ballet itself tragic.
The performance by 'Natalie Portman' is stunning.
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