Black Swan
2010
*****
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied

Nina is a young ballerina who clinches the starring role in the New York Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. She has the technical ability to play the White Swan but does she have the passion and the intensity for the Black Swan? This loud and visceral melodrama is consistently over-the-top but it grabbed me from the very first dream scene and left me devastated at the end. As Nina gains professional confidence, her personality starts to crack; there’s barely a scene in the film without a mirror or other reflective surface to indicate this. Her mental breakdown, as visualised by Aronofsky, is scary and deeply unsettling. The Oscar-winning Natalie Portman is remarkable as the fragile and sexually naive Nina, but there are also some memorable supporting performances: Mila Kunis as the laid-back alternate who may be after her role, Barbara Hershey as the over-protective mother, and Winona Ryder as the bitter, retiring dancer.