I just returned from seeing "Black Swan." It took me 15 minutes after the film just to catch my breath from this intense film that hurtles to a "perfect" ending. Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis could not be better cast in their archtypical, but nonetheless effective roles (neurotic driven dancer; tyrannical, licentious director and bitchy rival).
If you live in the Lincoln Center area like I do, you see these gorgeous, but driven aspiring dancers all over, including the subway, where about a quarter of the film takes place. Even in that environment, Portman's frilly pink coats stand out amid the graffiti, grime and dirty old men. Barbara Hersey does a great reprise of Piper Laurie's mother from hell from Carrie -- a bit over the top, but believable. Yes, it's a bit heavy on the Freudian and bloody imagery, but it definitely works in the end.