The 15-rated Black Swan received the most complaints from audiences in 2011. The film generated forty complaints and although this is a high number for the BBFC, compared to the 2.7 million people who saw the film in cinemas it is a proportionately very small indeed.
The standout issue for most was a sex scene in which one female character performs cunnilingus on another. While the scene is visually discreet, narratively justified and within the 15 Guidelines criteria, some correspondents felt it was pornographic in nature. That it was a sex scene between two women was an aggravating factor for some who argued that portrayals of homosexual activity should either be restricted to the 18 category , or not shown at all.
However, the BBFC in line with broad public opinion, applies the same standards to portrayals of sexual activity , regardless of sexual orientation.
The high number of complaints for Black Swan demonstrates the disconnect that sometimes occurs between a viewer’s expectations of a film and its actual content. Some complainants had expected to see a film about ballet rather than the story of a young woman’s mental disintegration.
The BBFC suggested that perhaps such whingers should read the label before deciding to view. The BBFC Consumer Advice clearly warned that Black Swan contains strong sex, strong language and bloody images.