Black Swan (2010 Film) Literary Elements

Black Swan (2010 Film) Literary Elements


Darren Aronofsky

Leading Actors/Actresses

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis

Supporting Actors/Actresses

Vincent Cassel, Barbra Hershey, Winona Ryder, and Benjamin Millepied


Psychological Horror




Won Academy Awards for: Best Actress in Portman and Best Picture; nominated for: directing, cinematography, and film editing

Date of Release

3 December 2010


Arnold W Messer, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, and Mike Medavoy

Setting and Context

New York, the early 2000's

Narrator and Point of View

Through the point of view of Portman's Nina Sayers

Tone and Mood

Ominous, dark, brooding, exasperated, tense, hallucinatory, depressing, horrific, mind-altering, violent, stylized, and panicked

Protagonist and Antagonist

Nina vs. her inner demons/herself

Major Conflict

The conflict between Nina and herself (her drive to be successful being interrupted by mental illness)


When Nina breaks down at the ballet and becomes the black swan


Nina's descent into madness is foreshadowed at the start of the film in the contents of her room/in her room in general

Nina's ultimate breakdown is foreshadowed by her hallucinations


Nina understates her mental condition to her mother consistently throughout the film

Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques

While nominated for an Academy Award and shot exceptionally well, this film is not innovative in its lighting or camera work


Allusions to childhood, other films, New York and its history, other history, performance arts, art in general, dance and dance history, and to fairy tales.


No significant instances of paradox


Nina's path to madness is paralleled by her burgeoning career in its intensity.

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