Saw Black Swan earlier this week - it's a movie I knew I wanted to see from the point I heard about it, but didn't find the time until now. It's ummm...very good, quite interesting and Natalie Portman certainly deserves her Oscar - regardless of any discussion about who did what in the dancing scenes, that's not really important. (She was even better in V for Vendetta though!)
It's a very stylized film and it stretches some things to the limit, even counting in artistic license. I would have liked it to be a bit less obvious in its use of sexual metaphor - I have no trouble with outspoken or "graphic" films but the way Black Swan makes Nina's quest as a dance artist go toe to toe with some very pose-y scenes makes it look as if the film is saying she needs to get lost in a haze of dionysiacal ecstasy to really make it as a ballerina, and that this is a general point about artists. To me that feels like devaluing the long-term commitment, the technical and/or personal striving involved in whatever art you're pursuing, and it's also a point of view that seems to excuse Thomas: in the end he's just doing what any man in his position could be expected to do if this is it, and after all isn't he the one who makes her take the leap forward? Actually, no serious real world choreographer (except a very disturbed one) would order his new lead ballerina to go home and fidget herself to better get into the part - that looks like a cheap move not just by him but by Aronoffsky as a film director.
The mother feels like almost a cardboard figure too, and all the women in the film are more or less doubles of Nina: they embody various aspects to contrast with her. That's a deliberate trait I think, but at many points the film looks muddy when it comes to just what is the nature of the obstacles Nina is trying to break through. It's an engaging film, and great to watch, but not really as outstanding as it's been hyped to be.