'Black Swan' Reviews: Oscar Contender? Not So Fast ...

Kim Conte

black swanIt seems the only thing more melodramatic than Darren Aronofsky's new film, Black Swan, is the acclaim it's receiving from critics. Reviewers are heaping praise on everything from the psychologically fascinating subject matter to the tortured performance by Natalie Portman. More than a few have said it should be an Oscar contender.

Others, however, aren't so sure ...

First, the praise: None other than Roger Ebert, who gave the movie 3.5 stars, is one of Portman's biggest fans:

Black Swan is a full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic, and mirrors the conflict of good and evil in Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake."

Likewise, 'Prinz Lee Romero,' writing for Starpulse.com, couldn't have been more enthusiastic about the film:

Aronofsky and Portman have the clout to make Black Swan an Oscar contender—as well it should be. As the credits rolled the audience sat in awkward silence, then a short moment later, they burst into enthusiastic applause ... After you’ve unclenched your internal organs, you’ll probably find you loved the entire brutal, vicious experience.

But not everyone is so enamored with Black Swan. The New York Times' Manohla Dargis seems genuinely intrigued and impressed by the film, but wasn't subtle about pointing out some of its flaws:

Black Swan ... surprises despite its lusty or rather sluttish predilection for clichés, which include the requisitely demanding impresario (Mr. Cassel makes a model cock of the walk) and Nina’s ballerina rival, Lily (Mila Kunis, as a succulent, borderline rancid peach).

And a few critics, like Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, flat-out disliked it:

This tale of feathered ambition ... is not just any kind of trash, it's high-art trash, a kind of "When Tutu Goes Psycho" that so prizes hysteria over sanity that it's worth your life to tell when its characters are hallucinating and when they're not.

Even if it doesn't win an Oscar, all is not lost: Aronofsky is hopeful that Portman and Kunis will at least take home an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.

Are you going to see Black Swan this weekend?


Image via Fox Searchlight

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