Black Swan (film)

Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky from a screenplay by Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin, and Andres Heinz, based on a story by Heinz. The film stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder, and revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake by the New York City Ballet company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan, for which the committed dancer Nina Sayers (Portman) is a perfect fit, as well as the dark and sensual Black Swan, which are qualities better embodied by the new rival Lily (Kunis). Nina is overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure when she finds herself competing for the role, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into madness.

Black Swan
Directed byDarren Aronofsky
Screenplay by
Story byAndres Heinz
Produced by
CinematographyMatthew Libatique
Edited byAndrew Weisblum
Music byClint Mansell
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • September 1, 2010 (2010-09-01) (Venice)
  • December 3, 2010 (2010-12-03) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$329.4 million[3]

Aronofsky conceived the premise by connecting his viewings of a production of Swan Lake with an unrealized screenplay about understudies and the notion of being haunted by a double, similar to the folklore surrounding doppelgängers. Aronofsky cites Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Double as another inspiration for the film. The director also considered Black Swan a companion piece to his 2008 film The Wrestler, with both films involving demanding performances for different kinds of art. He and Portman first discussed the project in 2000, and after a brief attachment to Universal Pictures, Black Swan was produced in New York City in 2009 by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Portman and Kunis trained in ballet for several months before filming began.

Black Swan premiered at the 67th Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2010, and had a limited release in the United States starting on December 3, before opening in wide release on December 17. Upon its release, the film received critical acclaim, with particular praise toward Aronofsky's direction and the performances of Portman and Kunis. It was also a commercial success, grossing $329 million worldwide against a $13 million budget. The film received five nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with Portman winning Best Actress; it also received four nominations at the 68th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, with Portman winning Best Actress. In 2021, Portman's performance was included in The New Yorker's list of the best film performances of the 21st century.[4]

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