Nina (Natalie Portman) is a perfectionist ballerina in a prestigious New York ballet company. She lives with her possessive mother, who is more than committed to her daughter's dancing career. The ballet company's artistic director Tomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) retires his ageing prima-ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder). He now has to cast a new star-ballerina to dance two rolls in Swan Lake: the virginal, pure White Swan, and the sensuous, seductive Black Swan. Nina is ideal for the White Swan role - but will she be able to dance the Black Swan? Just as Nina thinks she has safely landed the role, Lily (Mila Kunis), a sensual new dancer appears on the scene. She definitely has what it takes to play the Black Swan.
Black Swan is a taut psychological thriller. Less of a dance film than a sort of “Gaslight” with a Swan Lake – or perhaps more accurately, “Gaslight”1 with a twist (no dancing pun intended). The excellent direction definitely holds the viewer in constant tension and suspense. There are also some fairly steamy erotic scenes of the kind we are more used to from French productions than Hollywood. Overall, script and direction give this psychological thriller a Claude Chabrol-like quality – and a high quality at that.
Meeting on the set of “Black Swan” has led to romance for Natalie Portman and the aptly surnamed Benjamin Millepied ("millepieds" is French for "centipede"), who plays the male dancer David. He also created the choreography for the film's dance scenes. Millepied, the principal dancer of the New York City Ballet and Portman are engaged to be married. Portman is also expecting their first child.