Natalie Portman will break your heart and freak you out as Nina, the unhinged ballerina striving a little too hard for perfection in Darren Aronofsky’s harrowing and hallucinatory film. Portman tears into this role with such raw power it’s a wonder if she will have anything left in the tank for future films. After years of struggles, veteran dancer Nina lands herself the part of a lifetime as The Swan Queen in Thomas Leroy’s (Vincent Cassel) new version of Swan Lake. While those around her, including her needy mother (Barbara Hershey) feel that this achievement is well deserved and should fuel her confidence, Nina spirals downward into a world of dark fantasy and self-destruction. Mila Kunis is excellent as Lily, Nina’s dancing rival who begins a twisted friendship with her that may or may not be complete fantasy. The film is yet another good one from Aronofsky, and undoubtedly the best work of Portman’s career.

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