MOVIE REVIEW Portman's perfection: <i>Black Swan </i>dark, exquisite


Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is a full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic, and mirrors the conflict of good and evil in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. It is one thing to lose yourself in your art. Portman's ballerina loses her mind.

Everything about classical ballet lends itself to excess. The art form is one of grand gesture, of the illusion of triumph over reality and even the force of gravity. Yet it demands from its performers years of rigorous perfectionism, the kind of physical and mental training that takes ascendancy over normal life. This conflict between the ideal and the real is consuming Nina Sayers, Portman's character.... [full review]