These moments of Black Swan are excessive, yet during the course of the movie, Portman achieves the transformation called for by her role. Her porcelain-doll looks are a fine match for the delicate Nina and makes her conversion into the Black Swan late in the film a moment of immense cinematic power. Kunis, known mainly for her work on the sitcom That '70s Show, surprises as the ambitious Lily, while Hershey's Erica joins the pantheon of crazed, controlling cinema moms. She—and Vincent Cassel's obsessive, demanding Thomas—more than match the crazy, overheated tone of Black Swan.

The story of Black Swan isn't anything new: we've seen its backstage story, with deposed former stars, hungry rivals and pushy authority figures before. It gives Portman a chance to stretch as an actress, but the real showman, for better or worse, is director Aronofsky. His handheld camera footage and taste for extreme situations dominate the film, which is anything but subtle—or tasteful. It's certainly memorable, but in a mostly disturbing way.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  "Jesus Christ"; "my God"; several "f" words; "whore" written on a mirror; "a-s"; crude terms for male and female sex organs; "d-mn"; "holy s-it."

  • Alcohol/Drugs:  Drinking and smoking; drugs mixed in alcohol. 

  • Sex/Nudity:  Dancers are shown backstage in their bras; a man suddenly and forcibly kisses a woman and she bites his lip; a dancer removes her panties; Thomas tells Nina to go home and "touch yourself"; masturbation scenes; Nina's instructor grabs her crotch and feels her breasts; Nina takes a bath, but only her stomach is shown; man on a subway makes lascivious gestures; lesbian love scene with several seconds of oral sex depicted.

  • Violence/Crime:  A dancer trashes her dressing room, and another dancer steals things from the dressing room; vomiting; limbs snap and fingernails/toenails are cracked and bleeding; skin is peeled back; a scratch appears on Nina's shoulder; fingernail clippers cut Nina; leg wounds shown on a hospital patient; drops of blood; a woman stabs herself in the face; door slammed on a hand; a character is thrown against a mirror; a woman is stabbed with a piece of broken glass.

 
Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.