September 8, 2011


Black Swan Movie Beat Sheet

1. Opening Image

Ballerina (Nina) on stage under a single light.

2. Theme Stated

Nina is dancing a dark piece where she's being pursued.

3. Set-Up

Nina sits in front of her mirror, mentions it was a dream to her mother. While on the train she sees someone who looks like her. She goes to work as a ballerina, where she trains.

4. Catalyst - Inciting Incident

During practice, Thomas shows up. All the girls are on their best. He wants a new lead to star in swan lake as a black & white swan.

5. Debate

  • Nina has a chance at the lead, will compete later.
  • Nina catches the aging ex-lead (Beth) leave in a rage.
    She tries out for Thomas but fails at creating the passion of the black swan.
  • On the way home she again sees a woman who looks like her.
    She breaks her toe nail while at home.
  • She talks to Thomas to get the job, he says she's not the black swan, tries to kiss her, she bites him.
  • Thomas gives Nina the lead role.

6. Break into Two

"whore" is written on the glass for her to see.

7. B Story

View of Nina & her mom's relationship: Mother is overbearing, treats Nina like a child. She bakes a cake & Nina eats it to keep her mother from being upset.

8. Fun and Games

  • Celebratory event hosted by Thomas. She hallucinates that the skin on her finger is peeling. Beth calls Nina a whore. Thomas suggests Nina masturbate.
  • Mother finds more marks on Nina & is concerned that she hasn't outgrown scratching herself. She masturbates and stops when she sees her mother sleeping in her room.
  • Beth is in the hospital, she walked in front of a bus. Nina visits a sleeping Beth, her leg is broken. Nina is shaken up.
    Nina finds a metal pipe for the purpose of keeping her bedroom door closed and keeping her mother out (transitioning from her mother).
  • Thomas still working with Nina to get the black swan, makes a pass at her, seduces her and he tells her that she needs to seduce him, not the other way around. She's not getting it done.
  • Nina hallucinates seeing herself, nails bleed, more scratches on her back.

9. Tentpole - Midpoint - Reversal

Against her mother's wishes, Nina goes out with Lily

10. Bad Guys Close In

Nina & Lily hang. She drinks, meets guys, takes ecstasy. Lily seduces Nina. She takes Lily home, mother is angry, they make love in the house.

11. All Is Lost

She wakes up late.

12. Dark Night of the Soul

Lily tells Nina that she didn't sleep with her. Nina had hallucinated it. She continues her practice when suddenly she sees her double in the reflection.
She's unhappy that Lily is her replacement. Feels threatened.

13. Break into Three

Alone, night before the performance, she practices & she's sees her double in the mirror.

14. Finale - Confrontation

More hallucinations: Thomas & Lily having sex, with Thomas turning into a dark creature from her dream at the beginning. Another of her visiting Beth, who stabs herself with a nail file.
Her rash looks like black feathers growing out, her toes webbed - physical transformation into a black swan as per her mind.
She performs on stage, opening night.
She kills Lily, thinking it's a hallucination of herself, or does she? Then performances the black swan brilliantly as she transforms into a swan on stage in her own mind

15. Aftermath

Nina goes back to her room to put on her white swan makeup, realizes that Lily isn't dead, she stabbed herself in the stomach, basically killing the white swan part of her.
She performs, finishes the last act as the white swan and dies from the self- inflicted wound.

16. Final Image

Her euphoric face as she lay dying after her perfect performance.


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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