Black Swan

December 20, 2010 - A young ballerina gets the opportunity she's always dreamed of, but making the most of it could be more dangerous than she ever imagined. Natalie Portman heads an excellent cast that includes Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis (That '70s Show and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Winona Ryder. Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) directs.

Portman plays Nina Sayers, an up and coming member of a New York ballet company. The director has picked "Swan Lake" to open the new season, and he wants Nina to replace the company's prima ballerina (Ryder) and dance the part of the Swan Queen. Up until now, Nina has led a sheltered life under the controlling thumb of her former ballerina mother (Hershey). She's more than capable of playing the part of the white swan. But, to dance the part of the black swan, Nina will have to get in touch with her more sensual and sexual self. The pressure for perfection - along with competition from another dancer (Kunis) – put Nina on a path of self-discovery and of self-destruction.

Overall review: *** Talk about intense. From the storyline to the music to the performances, there's barely a relaxing moment here. Portman's character has plenty of issues to deal with and she (Portman) handles them all. The supporting cast also deliver strong performances, particularly Kunis. Portman may be the star, but Kunis stole practically every scene she was in. And, it's good to see Winona Ryder back on the screen. She's almost unrecognizable here, but there's no mistaking her voice. You don't have to know a lot about ballet to appreciate Black Swan, but the film should leave you with a deeper appreciation of the art form.