'Black Swan' Reviews: Portman's Psychological Thriller Dances Its Way Into Critics' Hearts

Natalie Portman in Black SwanThere's been so much talk about the Natalie Portman-Mila Kunis sex scene in "Black Swan" -- yes, we know we're as guilty as anybody of stoking that fire -- we feel morally obligated to remind moviegoers that there is much, much more to this movie than two beautiful women seeing to each others between-the-sheets needs.

The unsettling psychological thriller is earning a boatload of Oscar buzz for Portman, Kunis and director Darren Aronofsky, and is already racking up best of 2010 accolades from the likes of the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Indie Spirit Awards. Portman is being hailed as a front runner for the Best Actress Oscar for her fearless turn as Nina, an uptight ballerina whose obsession with dancing the lead in "Swan Lake" leads her to explore the dark side she didn't know she had. Kunis is said to be in the Best Supporting Actress mix for her performance as Nina's fierce on-stage rival (and, yes, even fiercer off-stage lover) Lily. And Aronofksy is getting the kind of Best Director Oscar talk he should have gotten for "The Wrestler."

Check out what critics have to say about the film after the jump.

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "If visions of sugarplums dance in your head, stay the hell away from 'Black Swan,' a hotblooded, head-spinning erotic thriller in which director Darren Aronofsky does to ballet what Kanye West does to rap: turns it into his own beautiful dark twisted fantasy... Portman's portrait of an artist under siege is unmissable and unforgettable. So is the movie. You won't know what hit you."

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: "For all the food for thought and debate it provides, what makes "Black Swan" really special is the immediate way that it works on you if you give yourself over to it. It's a true cinematic experience, one that can be ecstatically savored even -- especially, maybe -- while it gleefully messes with one's head."

David Edelstein, New York Magazine: "Portman gives the kind of performance that wins awards, largely because you’re so aware of her sacrifices to play the part. She looks as if she trained hard, and, for an actress, she dances well—although not brilliantly or distinctively enough to convince you that the company director would single her out."

Peter Debruge, Variety: "A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer's all-consuming ambition, 'Black Swan' serves as a fascinating complement to Darren Aronofsky's 'The Wrestler,' trading the grungy world of a broken-down fighter for the more upscale but no less brutal sphere of professional ballet. Centerstage stands Natalie Portman, whose courageous turn lays bare the myriad insecurities genuinely dedicated performers face when testing their limits, revealing shades of the actress never before seen on film."

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: "A near-irresistible exercise in bravura absurdity, Darren Aronofsky's 'Black Swan' deserves to become a minor classic of heterosexual camp -- at the very least, it's the most risible and riotous backstage movie since 'Showgirls.'"

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: "Darren Aronofsky's backstage ballet thriller 'Black Swan' is lurid and voluptuous pulp fun, with a sensationalistic fairy-tale allure. You can't take it too seriously, but you can't tear your eyes away from it, either."

Based on these reviews, are you excited to see "Black Swan"?