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Black Swan Review Critics


Dave White Profile

More loon than swan. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Cronenberg meets Swan Lake. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    To induce a state of dread and mesmerize with beauty is a rare, paradoxical achievement.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Indeed, White Swan/Black Swan dynamics almost work, but the horror-movie nonsense drags everything down the rabbit hole of preposterousness.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Aronofsky blurs the line between reality and fantasy, turning the film into a gothic horror show that is fascinating and disappointing in equal measure. What's resplendently real, though, is the beauty of Ms. Portman's performance. She makes the whole lurid tale worthwhile.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Lurid and voluptuous pulp fun, with a sensationalistic fairy-tale allure. You can't take it too seriously, but you can't tear your eyes away from it, either.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Black Swan reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Magnificent, macabre thriller too intense for young teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this dark gothic thriller centers on a dancer (played by Natalie Portman) who's so obsessed with perfection that she's obliterated by it. Her pursuit is tragic, filled with self-mutilation and fear -- all of it intense material that may prove too much for younger viewers. Expect many disturbing scenes of mental and physical anguish, some violent fights, and a character who hurts herself and purges -- perhaps in response to the pressures she puts herself under. There's also some swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), pill-popping, and a few graphic, sexually-charged scenes (including one with bare breasts and another featuring two women).

  • Families can talk about the messages the movie sends about committing yourself to something. When is focusing on one passion/talent/dream healthy, and when does it go too far?
  • Do the consequences of the characters' behavior in this movie seem realistic? Have you ever seen anything similar happen to anyone you know?
  • Is Nina's relationship to ballet healthy? Does the film unmask anything about the world of ballet?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: While Nina's dedication could be seen as admirable, it consumes her to the point of destruction. The message may be to find balance, that nothing is worth losing yourself -- not even what appears to be your dream come true. Viewers may also find themselves thinking about the concept that insanity can feed good art -- but is it necessary to make good art?

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Nearly everyone is duplicitous, damaged, or manipulative, from Nina's mother to her choreographer to Nina herself. That said, Nina's fragility is borne out of her need to tamp down anything that appears unpleasant; she spares others, but not herself.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Characters torture themselves mentally and physically. A character purges and punishes her body with grueling workouts; she also cuts herself. When her mind starts to fall apart, she becomes delusional, sure that her skin is turning reptilian and that there are sharp objects oozing out of her wounds. She throws objects, rips drawings, screams. The movie shows the brutal aspects of ballet, including the injuries -- especially bleeding toenails, mangled feet, and achy bones. A woman is shown stabbing another with a shard of glass; the wound festers.

  • sex false4

    Sex: A woman masturbates; she's clothed, but it's clearly implied. A woman performs a sex act on another woman (viewers don't see body parts, but there's no mistaking what position they're in). A woman makes out with a bunch of men in a drugged haze. A man touches a woman's genitals while he's teaching her some dance steps; he also forces her to kiss him. Bare breasts are flashed.

  • language false4

    Language: Fairly frequent swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "pr-ck," "d--k," "p---y," "ass," "oh my God," and "damn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Two young women get drunk at a nightclub. They also pop pills. Another woman, embittered because she has been replaced, causes a scene after getting drunk.