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Edit Storyline Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well.
Darren Aronofsky has made a career of choosing interesting, non-traditional material and illuminating the unexpected aspects of his subject matter. Case(s) in point: The Wrestler (a down-trodden wrestler), Pi (mathematicians), Requiem For a Dream (middle-aged drug addiction), and now Black Swan (competitive ballet.) His knack for taking something completely mundane and elevating it to something tense and dreadful is astonishing. Who would have ever thought that a movie about mathematicians could be exciting, much less sinister? It is no surprise that the man who brought us Pi delivers a dark, provocative, psychological drama, set in the cutthroat (who knew it?) world of competitive ballet.
This writer, to his eternal shame, has something of a tin ear for classical music. Generally speaking, if a piece of music doesn't have at least one chorus, or is part of a film score, we tend to glaze over a little bit. So it's a credit to Clint Mansell 's work on " Black Swan ," which mostly appropriates elements from Tchaikovsky 's " Swan Lake ," the ballet at the center of the film, that after our screening, we went home and listened to Tchaikovsky fairly solidly for about a week. Our review'll run on the week of release, but suffice to say it's this writer's favorite film of the year so far, a truly extraordinary piece of work, and Mansell's score more than lives up to his seminal work with director Darren Aronofsky on " Pi ," " Requiem For A Dream " and " The Fountain ," even if, due to the heavy use of Tchaikovsky, it's likely to be disqualified from awards contention by most bodies.