My interpretations of the film have been more on target with DBZ's and Bev Johnston's thinking. I think this film is one big internal physical, mental, and emotional journey. Her regimented life of discipline filled with sacrifice and her quest to achieve perfection upon being named the Swan Queen completely focked her mind. I feel that this is the best, most fascinating film I've seen this year and I believe Natalie Portman is definitely deserving of a Best Actress Academy Award. Brilliant!
I have been wondering what insights other viewers have taken from the film and here are interpretations on yahoo answers that I think hit the mark:
Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
"To me this was a metaphor about the battle between two parts of the self (the good little girl who pleased Mother and the perhaps the sexual, independent adult part). Her mother clipping her fingernails was like symbolically clipping her wings, as the expression goes, and keeping her little and meek and controllable, making her remain a perfect "sweet girl". The white swan (pure good girl) and the black swan (strong, independent woman) represented both parts of herself in conflict, battling it out. The Mila Kunis character served to show Nina what was possible, were she not so perfectionistic and restrained,someone who could let go, be sexual, and independent. Without giving anything away, I think the ending was symbolic. Nina could not integrate both parts, so one had to go (and I believe the ending was only in her mind)."
"White swans are symbolic of cleansing and purifying ourselves and our lives.
Black swans indicate deep mysteries within us that are longing to be set free to
express themselves creatively.
And I agree with the best answer Nina with the ending as her instructor kept saying let yourself go."
"OK, here goes ...
I like to think of it like Freud's parts of the subconscious. Natalie Portman is the ego who must battle to control the other two parts of her mind. Throughout the film she struggles to bring reality into the picture, as the ego strives to keep a balance between its two more chaotic and sometimes all consuming counterparts. Mila Kunis is the id who represents the free primal instincts of the individual. She does drugs and has sex freely. Natalie Portman's mom in the movie is her superego who represents the moralistic or even critically derisive role.
Now, I feel like both these characters only exist in her mind and she must battle them in order to achieve balance. This is just my take on it, of course i could be wrong."
"When Nina said she was perfect I saw it as she lived the role perfectly. She went through the same transformation and she had to kill herself as her character in "Swan Lake" does to reach perfection of living that role. And my interpretation of Nina and Lily's relationship was that Nina projected her dark, "black swan" self onto Lily because she was perfect for the role of the black swan in the play and because she was like her evil twin. So in Nina's hallucination or whatever you wanna call it, when she kills Lily (Nina's own black swan side) she becomes her own Black Swan self."