On this day in horror history, Darren Aronofsky‘s psychological horror flick Black Swan with Natalie Portman (Annihilation) opened in 2010. Mila Kunis (Ted) co-stars along with Barbara Hershey (The Entity), and Winona Ryder (Stranger Things).
The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by the New York City Ballet company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan. Nina (Portman) is a perfect fit, but her new rival Lily (Kunis) embodies the dark and sensual Black Swan better. Overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure, Nina finds herself competing for the part, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into madness.
Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin, and Andres Heinz wrote the screenplay based on an original story by Heinz. Black Swan premiered as the opening film for the 67th Venice International Film Festival in September 2010. It had a limited release in the U.S. starting back in 2010 and opened in wide release on December 17th.
Black Swan was a surprise box office success and went on to gross over $106M in the U.S. States and over $329M worldwide. All on a $13M budget. It received five nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and winning Best Actress for Portman.
Rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language, and some drug use, the psychological horror film sports a solid 85% approval rating over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic, Black Swan glides on Darren Aronofsky’s bold direction — and a bravura performance from Natalie Portman.
Several critics have noted the similarities between the film and Satoshi Kon’s anime Perfect Blue. Aronofsky acknowledged the similarities in 2010 but denied that his film was inspired by Kon’s. That said, Kon said he had met with Aronofsky in 2001.
Do you dig Black Swan?