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Ballerina Struggles To Unleash 'Black Swan' Within


It is Friday morning, which is when we usually hear from our film critic, Kenneth Turan. He's been watching the new movie "Black Swan," in which ballet is a contact sport.

KENNETH TURAN: Ballerina Nina, played by Portman, is introduced as a timid soul who's labored for years in the corps de ballet without a peep of protest.


M: (as Nina Sayers) I had the craziest dream last night, about a girl who's turned into a swan, but her prince falls for the wrong girl and she kills herself. He promised to feature me more this season.

M: (as Erica Sayers) Well, he should. You've been there long enough, and you're the most dedicated dancer in the company.

TURAN: Nina's artistic director, played by Vincent Cassel, is thinking of offering her the lead in "Swan Lake," but he's not sure she has what it takes to play the black swan part of the role.


M: (as Thomas) Seduce us! Not just the prince but the court, the audience, the entire world. Come on. Like a spider spinning a web. Attack it, attack it, come on.

TURAN: Because Nina starts out crazy, there is nowhere of interest for her character to go. But expecting subtlety from a Darren Aronofsky film is like expecting Pixar to announce a slasher movie. Not in this lifetime.

INSKEEP: Ken Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. And we review more of the week's new movies, not least the con man comedy "I Love You Phillip Morris," at


INSKEEP: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.