The saddest thing is that this could have been a really good movie. The story, the directing, the photography, the supporting cast were very impressive. The beautiful music obviously didn't hurt. This could have been a powerful work that pondered issues of artistic awakening and the nature of creativity, a Künstlerroman in the true meaning of the word. This could have really worked. Could have - if it weren't for the imponderable decision to cast the Queen of Vapid, a.k.a. Natalie Portman, in the leading role.
For some incomprehensible reason, Portman is in vogue right now. Every other movie out there is rendered horrible by her insipid presence and annoying lisp. Portman has two facial expressions in her arsenal: blank face with her mouth closed and blank face with her mouth half-open. Every single emotion is conveyed by either mouth closed or mouth half-open. I don't know how she manages to keep her facial muscles in such a rigid state at all times: Botox? facial paralysis? natural vacuousness? Whatever it is, this peculiarity incapacitates her completely as an actress. She looks down, sees a shard of glass sticking out of her belly, mouth half-opens, a blank stare: what on Earth is she thinking? Good? Bad? Fun? Painful? Something? Anything?
The entire experience of watching Black Swan is poisoned by the need to guess what emotions Portman's character is supposed to be conveying. Trying to deduce anything from her frozen face and vapid stare is beyond painful. The scenes where Portman appears against Mila Kunis make her look even more pathetic. Kunis is no actress of the century but at least there is some acting capacity there (Ukrainians rule!). Kunis simply kills Portman in every single scene.
An alternative reading of the film is that Portman's character is supposed to be so overworked and exhausted by starvation and endless purging that she has no energy to experience, let alone express, any emotion. I wish I had been informed of this interpretation before I watched the movie. Then, I might have avoided the constant and fatiguing attempts to guess the character's feelings and intentions. I still believe, however, that the truth here is that Portman is simply devoid of any acting talent whatsoever.