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Black Swan

A masterful performance elevated by a strong and meaningful narrative.

Beginning with Thomas’ decision to usurp previous ingénue Beth (Winona Ryder) and ending with Nina’s decision to carry on the performance regardless of her physical predicament, Black Swan weaves a dizzying and darkly satisfying psychological thriller in and around one New York ballet company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s tragic tale (Story Driver of `Decision).

While Guardian Thomas (Vincent Cassel) fulfills his objective role by helping Protagonist Nina (Natalie Portman) pursue her goal of performing the role of a lifetime (Story Goal of `Being), it is the relationship with sultry newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis) that represents the true and twisted heart of this story.

Lily, a natural seductress for the titular role, has been around the block a few times whereas Nina, held in check by an overbearing and well past her years mother (Main Character Throughline of `Universe), appears almost virginal in her ability to communicate emotion through dance (Relationship Throughline Issue of `Experience). Only by allowing Lily to open her up and free her from mental constraints (Influence Character Concern of `Preconscious) can Nina truly grow into the kind of dancer her mother always dreamt for her (Main Character Growth of `Start).

While there are indications of an impending deadline, it is less that Nina embody the spirit of the Black Swan by opening night, and more that she cast aside the voices in her that prevent her from doing so that brings this story to a climax (Story Continuum of `Spacetime). It is only once she accepts without proof that she has silenced the last voice for good (Main Character Solution of `Trust) that she is finally able to perform The Black Swan like never before (Story Outcome of `Success) — bringing a Triumphant end to her struggle for “perfection” (Story Judgment of `Good).