While the movie has its big, viscerally-felt moments, much of what makes Portman so effective in the role is her attention to the more subtle aspects of Nina's descent.
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Aronofsky has plumbed the Swan Lake fairytale for its inbuilt elements of Goth-horror. He proposes the black swan as a gateway to mayhem and madness. It becomes a malevolent creature -- think were-swan instead of werewolf.
Much will be written about Black Swan, a movie that viewers will either love or hate for its melding of a ballerina story with classic horror motifs.
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