Natalie Portman the highlight of her career no doubt, and a nice little baby on the way to boot. She was amazing. The movie built around her character. Portmans interpretation of the timid, shy, good hard working waif of a girl is aware that she must leave herself behind if shes going to get anywhere. Facing the harshness of the performing arts and being singled out to take the lead is the ultimate dream for her. Loved this movie. As a ballet mum with a daughter who did 12 years ballet the discipline is gruelling, hours of practice with little praise. Understood this movie completely. She deserved the Oscar. Congrats to Natalie. Cinematic photography brilliant. My guess Natalie did ballet when young, could be wrong. The arm work was perfect. It takes years of conditioning. Worth it... perfect.