PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER: Nina (Natalie Portman) is consumed by her need to achieve success as a ballet dancer--while her fragile psyche hangs in the balance.

Black Swan

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Director Darren Aronof­sky performs a psychological pas de deux with composer Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky in Black Swan, a fractured, fascinating study of the high-pressure world of big-time New York ballet.

Natalie Portman (who studied ballet in her teens) plays Nina Sayers, a timid but talented ballerina who has sacrificed a normal life in order to make it as a dancer. Her chances for stardom are fading, however, because of age, injury and the constant emergence of young dancers.

 

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