Moria calls it "no more than a 1970s psycho-thriller with artistic pretensions." DVD Talk describes it as "a taut, harrowing thriller that unfolds with palpable tension and nightmarish logic" and "an odd hybrid of backstage melodrama and psychological horror". Slant Magazine gives it 2 out of 4 stars and closes with this: "the overall effect is ostentatiously calculated, ill-fitting, and emotionally aloof, always for our benefit and almost never symptomatic of its protagonist's living nightmare." Salon.com says it's better than we've heard and calls it "a magnificent blend of pop and art cinema, the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for from both Portman and Aronofsky, and a must-see film that people will argue about all winter." Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and says,
“Black Swan” has a beauty. All of the themes of the music and life, all of the parallels of story and ballet, all of the confusion of reality and dream come together in a grand exhilaration of towering passion. There is really only one place this can take us, and it does. If I were you, I wouldn't spend too much time trying to figure out exactly what happens in practical terms.It's listed in the latest edition of the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. It has a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 87%.