Disclaimer: I am not a movie critic. I simply love movies of almost all stripes.
In my years of watching movies there have been a few times when I actually saw celluloid capture magic. Sometimes it's a brief moment like the first time Sofia Loren appeared on a screen. I thought she was magical. I cannot remember her lines, or the name of the actor in the same scene but, I remember Ms. Loren in a red dress. At 10 years old, she was the image of absolute femininity. To be honest, she still is. Other times the way an actor delivers a line can be memorable like when Lauren Bacall said " you know how to whistle don't you? just put your lips together and blow" or Billie Dee Williams "you want my arm to fall off". There are countless other moments, countless lines I could quote. Everyone has at least one one movie like that.
In the era of CGI, astounding explosions and body count when a movie like Black Swan gets made I feel compelled to see it. Even if one is not familiar with the ballet from which the name is derived, an effort should still be made to see this movie. Natalie Portman is absolutely breath taking. The supporting cast does more than support. They elevate the movie to near perfection. Barbara Hershey, whom I have not seen on the big screen in a few years, plays the pushy, boundary crossing, tightly wound mother like her life depended on it. Think the craziness of Mommy Dearest with the restraints of Hannibal Lecter, except her restraints are internal and could fail at any moment. Vincent Cassel is "formidable" - il est magnifique - He can do no wrong. I've loved him since his cross dressing scene stealing performance in Elizabeth.
The movie is not rushed, we're given time to watch Natalie's character react to her life and surroundings. Every minute builds on the psychosis from the previous minute. Watching or listening to Natalie's character take little short breaths, the way she walks, the severe bun, the movement of her slight frame while she dances, her voice everything about her in this movie is a manifestation of what's to come.
If the artistic gods are paying attention, Natalie Portman should win all of the Best Actress awards - Oscar; Actor's Guild; Golden Globe; BAFA; Palme D'or etc - the movie ensemble should also win for best script, best movie, best director, best editing (sound). Although I doubt it will win for sound, it should at least be in the running. Music aside, being able to witness and hear the metamorphosis was beautiful and creepy.
Hollywood knows how to make great movies. In Black Swan they showed once again they can capture magic.