Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky from a screenplay by Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin, and Andres Heinz, based on a story by Heinz. The film stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder, and revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake by the New York City Ballet company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan, for which the committed dancer Nina Sayers (Portman) is a perfect fit, as well as the dark and sensual Black Swan, which are qualities better embodied by the new rival Lily (Kunis). Nina is overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure when she finds herself competing for the role, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into madness.
Nina Sayers, a young ballerina with the New York City Ballet company, lives with her overprotective mother, Erica, herself a former dancer. The company is opening the season with Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. After forcing prima ballerina Elizabeth "Beth" MacIntyre into retirement, artistic director Thomas Leroy announces he is looking for a new dancer for the dual roles of the innocent and fragile White Swan Odette and the sensual and dark Black Swan Odile. Nina auditions for the roles and gives a flawless rehearsal as Odette, but fails to embody Odile.