Psychological Analysis of the movie Black Swan

Portrayals of mental illness are both frequent and potent in movies whether directly or indirectly, mental illness has made its way into the plots, subplots, and characters of films. And only a few movies have managed to portray such a complicated matter in a dark yet realistic way. And Black swan is one such movie. This Oscar winning movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, revolves around 26 years old Nina Sayers who is a ballerina, obsessed with perfection, doing everything she can despite struggling with her very complicated personal issues. Nina who is an absolutely beautiful, fragile girl is offered to play the lead in an upcoming prestigious opening production of “Swan lake”. But sooner she realizes the role slipping away from her when she has to compete with a new comer, Lily. The production entitles of two completely distinguished personas (Black swan & White swan) which it to be performed by the same dancer, “Swan Queen”. While Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan, Lily personifies the Black Swan. As rivalry between the two dancers transforms into a twisted friendship, Nina’s dark side begins to emerge.

Throughout the film we see Nina’s madness progress. She ends up showing many differ symptoms of schizophrenia a psychotic disorder where the individual suffering loses touch with reality. She also shows signs of hallucinations and delusions very often, along with eating disorders and self injurious behavior. She also manifests obsessive compulsive disorder and keeps trying to attain “perfection”. Her symptoms seem to have started as early as when she was a child as a part of her mother’s efforts to make her a famous ballerina after she had to give up on her career in order to raise Nina. On the show’s opening night as her vivid and visceral hallucinations intensify and she starts imagining Lily trying to hurt her. Nina ultimately stabs Lily, killing her. But it is later revealed that Lily was just another hallucination and in reality, Nina stabbed herself. And yet she still goes on to perform as the Swan Queen and does a phenomenal job, but at what cost? Even as she is dying at the end of the film, she whispers the words “I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect”, showing the exceptional discipline she had towards her career.

The world of dance forms especially ballet is highly competitive and is known to subject dancers to intense pressures in order to become perfect, producing a stressful environment and this movie showcased the worst outcome of it. Personally I feel like the play resonated with Nina’s life in several ways. How she’s struggling to play the role of the Black swan (a dark, enticing and cruel character) which seems almost impossible for her to play in the beginning as the audience and Nina has only seen her as a kind, good hearted person. But in the process of trying to play the black swan she’s connected with her own Black Swan and achieve perfection but only at the cost of her life. So in conclusion, us people too have both dark and good sides in us but its upto the circumstances in our lives that decides whether we bring out our own Black or White Swans.




A not so intellectual but a relatable writer.

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Radha k

Radha k

A not so intellectual but a relatable writer.

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