“Black Swan” opened Friday to reviews that were definitely divided. There were strong advocates like Manohla Dargis (New York Times) who called the film “visceral and real even while it’s one delirious, phantasmagoric freakout” and Claudia Puig (USA Today) who said, “To induce a state of dread and mesmerize with beauty is a rare, paradoxical achievement.”
However, there were naysayers such as Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) who said, “the less seriously you take this wildly melodramatic, unashamedly pulpy look at the blood sport that is New York City ballet, the better your chances are of enjoying yourself even a little.” And David Denby (New Yorker) thought, “The movie has the Romantics’ fascination with death without their spiritual eloquence, which turns morbidity into art.”
Overall, “Black Swan” scored 76 among the 25 reviewers surveyed at Meta Critic and 85 with the top tier at Rotten Tomatoes. While it was snubbed by the National Board of Review on Thursday, both the film and star Natalie Portman figure in our odds for the Oscars. Among our experts, the film is in the hunt for Best Picture and Portman is a frontrunner in the Best Actress race.
Image: “Black Swan” poster (Fox Searchlight)