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Black Swan: The Psychological Thriller that Does it All

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

I love psychological thrillers – absolutely love them. They either force you to confront something within yourself or give you a new viewpoint on what other people go through. A movie that I believe does both (for most viewers) is the critically acclaimed Black Swan starring Natalie Portman. 

The film follows Nina (Portman), a ballerina at New York City Ballet company. Its a competitive, highly impressive, and cut-throat organization. Swan Lake is the next production, and they need someone to play both Swans. Nina is perfect for the White Swan role. She’s fragile, innocent, and graceful, but she can’t seem to tackle the rough, harsh Black Swan role.

A large part of the movie is Nina’s struggle to accept failure. Because of this, she begins obsessively training – determined to master both Swans and be selected for the lead role. 

The movie progresses as Nina becomes consumed by trying to portray both Swans (the “Black Swan” trailer showcases this). Fueled by a fear of rejection, she hardly takes a break from her training. She begins to lose sleep, lose weight, and grow irritable. As her addiction progresses, her mind quite literally starts breaking down. Viewers watch as Nina crumbles under the immense pressure of her mother, the other ballerinas, the company and herself – until it all culminates into a psychotic break on the night of the Swan Lake premiere. 

I won’t spoil the movie – but I’d highly recommend it for anyone interested in psychological thrillers. “Black Swan’s” portrayal of stress and overworking utilizes a more gradual approach in comparison to most movies, and it helps show the audience how realistic the consequences of it are. Nina wanted to be at the top and would do anything to get there, but in doing so, she lost everything. 

Morgan Casey

Bradley U '23

Morgan is studying marketing at Bradley University with minors in professional writing and business analytics. After college she plans on pursuing a career that involves brand marketing.