Last night I saw Black Swan
. It's a wonderfully dark and engrossing psychological drama, and quite unnerving at times. Natalie Portman is excellent in her role as ballerina Nina Sayers, whose quest for perfection in her craft begins taking a serious toll on her mental state (it's definitely one of those movies that leaves the viewer wondering what events are really happening and what's just in her head). Anyone who's ever struggled to be the best at something will likely empathize with Nina's situation.
Watching Nina's life spiral out of control makes for a fascinating character study. Portman is definitely the focus here, but the supporting players do solid work as well. Vincent Cassel is effective as the ballet troupe's director, a man who is sleazy, demanding, but in his own unique way, kind of brilliant. Barbara Hershey, as Nina's mother, takes what could have been a clichéd, one-dimensional character and makes it her own -- while her Erica is undeniably a controlling "stage mother", there are hints of a genuine love and concern for her daughter behind her often unsettling behaviour. Winona Ryder plays the company's former star ballerina; although her role is quite brief, she manages to be memorable and creepy.
Mila Kunis rounds out the main cast as Lily, the troupe's newest dancer. While her role isn't the most complex in the film (she's basically a carefree "wild child", the counterpoint to the uptight Nina), she's reasonably interesting to watch. And as for a certain scene between her and Portman (which I'm sure you've all heard about) -- yowza.
The ending is actually somewhat easy to predict, although I'm sure people will have their own interpretations as to what the film is trying to say (if anything). I found it interesting, in that
If you get the chance, I heartily encourage you to check out Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan
-- it's a gem of a film.