YMMV / Black Swan

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Much of the movie runs on this.
    • Exactly how much of Erica's abuse is all in Nina's head? Erica is certainly a stern parent, but she does encourage Nina to do well and is genuinely pleased for her daughter when she succeeds. The only time she intervenes is when Nina is rightfully losing her mind. Note the cake scene - Erica spends hours making a celebratory cake for her daughter, who turns it down (one cake won't turn her into a blimp, and she can easily lose any water weight through practices). But then again, Nina seems to be afraid of her and Erica does seem to like controlling her daughter.
    • There's evidence that Nina could have a massive victim complex. She assumes that her mother is living vicariously through her and that Lily is trying to replace her - when there's no actual confirmation for either. It's just Nina's paranoid mind telling her this. She never stands up to her mother and allows herself to be babied just so she can play the victim. On the other hand, she is very weak-willed and there are other people who are rude and abusive to her - so it's not surprising that she'd assume everyone else is.
    • Regarding Lily, does she have any ulterior motives? Getting the prima ballerina drunk and high when they have practice in the morning certainly raises eyebrows - especially when she's just named as Nina's understudy. On the other hand, Lily is new in the city and clearly wants to make friends. So a night of drinking might be the only way she knows how.
    • The ending is hugely subject to this as to whether Nina actually died. The argument that says she does points to Tomas saying "what did you do?" and a shot of Lily looking horrified, showing that there is clearly some injury. Natalie Portman meanwhile feels that Nina didn't die, and it's merely a symbol of the 'little girl' in her dying. There are a few that have pointed out that Nina would not have been able to dance with such a huge stab wound - meaning that the final performance could have been all in her head too. Or else the wound was not that severe and was only aggravated by the dancing.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Or at least, Mila Kunis makes out with Natalie Portman and goes down on her body double. As Natalie Portman put it: "Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie. I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that."
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Nina smashes (breaks?) her mom's fingers in a door partly by accident...and then again on purpose the next day!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Lily's pretty popular, mainly because she's played by Mila Kunis and has some Les Yay with Nina. Also may have something to do with the fact that she's one of the few genuinely friendly, nice, sane individuals in the movie.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Nina / Lily. There's many a fic that has Nina surviving the end of the film and starting on the road to recovery, Lily at her side. Or just outright Fix Fics where Nina's not batshit, and she and Lily are a happy, cute couple.
  • Fetish Retardant: Remember that lesbian scene in the trailer? Some people may find it horrifying.
  • Freud Was Right: Nina could use a few hours on the couch with the good doctor. No, not doing that!.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    Thomas Leroy: We're going to do Swan Lake. Done to death, I know, but not like this. We strip it down, make it visceral and real.
  • Fridge Logic: Presuming that Nina actually stabbed herself, how did she manage to dance with a piece of glass stuck inside her?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Thomas watching Nina's dance rehearsal and noting her lack of seductiveness, asks her dance partner "Would you fuck that girl?" He just laughs, indicating no. The dance partner is played by Natalie Portman's choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she began a Romance on the Set. They are now married and have a child together. Portman addressed this in her Golden Globe acceptance speech: "He's the best actor! It's not true! He totally wants to sleep with me!"
    • A guy Nina chats up (against her mother's will) is played by Sebastian Stan. Her mother is played by Barbara Hershey. Fast forward to Once Upon a Time where Hershey is the Queen of Hearts and Stan is the Mad Hatter - and she personally has him beheaded.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Beth. Nina toward the end.
  • Les Yay: What most people are talking about in regards to the movie, sadly. Played straight or subverted, depending on if you think that Lily really is coming on to Nina or if Nina is just projecting her repressed urges onto the more adventurous woman.
  • Magnificent Bastard: One interpretation of Thomas.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'M THE SWAN QUEEN!"
  • Mind Game Ship: Thomas / Nina.
  • Misaimed Fandom: There is a small group of people who view Nina as "thinspiration", in spite of the fact that her implied eating disorder is not meant to be positive.
  • Narm/What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Nina seeing doppelgängers of herself everywhere might not come across as very disturbing and might make you think that’s just Keira Knightley.
  • Nightmare Fuel: And loads of it!
  • Paranoia Fuel: Fucking mirrors are everywhere. And your new coworker? Don't trust her. Well, actually you can, but your delusional mind may convince you otherwise.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Sebastian Stan has a very small role as one of the men Nina and Lily meet at the restaurant. A year after this movie came out, Stan got his breakout role as Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Watching the movie a second time after learning that Nina is having a nervous breakdown the entire film, there's clear but subtle signals of what's reality and what's all in her head.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Chris Stuckmann suggests this is the best western remake of Perfect Blue we're ever going to get.
  • Tear Jerker: "I was perfect."
  • Uncanny Valley: The final Black Swan makeup, and Erica's creepy paintings.
  • The Woobie: Poor Nina. Sexually repressed, emotionally stunted, self-abusing, smothered by her mother, suffering from an apparent eating disorder, and, oh yeah, she's also completely batshit insane!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/BlackSwan