Plot Fragile dancer Nina (Portman) lives a sheltered, ballet-obsessed life with her over-protective, ex-ballerina mother (Hershey). When Nina is promoted to prima — replacing the older Beth (Ryder) — for a new production of Swan Lake, her director, Thomas (Cassel), urges her to explore her dark side so that she can better embody the dual role of the Swan Queen and the Black Swan. This, combined with her concern over the ambitions of a new arrival at the company, Lily (Kunis), pushes Nina towards breaking point.
Verdict An extraordinary, intoxicating movie. Its hard, twisted edges may turn off some, but there’s no faulting either Aronofsky’s technical mastery or Portman’s flawless performance.