All of Darren Aronofsky’s Films, Ranked

Darren Aronofsky is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker who never fails to produce original and sometimes frightening movies. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Aronofsky had many unique interests including field biology and social anthropology. Aronofsky attended Harvard University where he studied filmmaking and eventually received his MFA in directing at the AFI Conservatory. His sheer intelligence is undoubtedly showcased in all of his films.

Aronofsky breaks down every frame of his movies with pure precision. He is constantly using story, camera techniques, and visual aesthetics to push the medium of cinema to new limits. With Black Swan, he brilliantly used mirrors and shadows to tell a haunting story. He also utilized the camera and lenses in very unique ways. The camera dances along with the actors throughout the performances, which was a brilliant method to showcase the choreography. With Requiem For A Dream, he introduced us to innovative methods of editing with quick close-up shots to portray drug use.

With only seven features under his belt, it is true to say that Darren Aronofsky is very particular with what projects he takes on. Although he is known for creating dramatic films, much of his work is haunting and disturbing, making him also a master of horror. His next film, currently in post-production, is an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play, The Whale. The film follows a 600-pound reclusive English teacher, played by Brendan Fraser, who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter. The film will also include Samantha Morton, Hong Chau, and Sadie Sink. Like all of Aronofsky’s films, The Whale is sure to deliver an original and thought-provoking piece of work.

Before that film is released, let’s dive into this brilliant director’s entire filmography, ranked. 


Noah image

Fans and critics alike were utterly surprised when Aronofsky decided to tackle the biblical story of Noah (Russel Crowe) and his arc. Although it is not considered to be his best, it is an original and dark take on the story, highlighting the complicated character of Noah and the sacrifices he had to make for Earth and humanity. The cast, including Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, deliver fantastic dramatic performances. The visuals are stunning and, like all of his other films, Noah is bound together with a haunting score.

6The Fountain

The Fountain image

The Fountain is a mind-mending experience that takes you on a journey through space and time. The film exists in three intersecting stories set in the past, present, and future, where a man, played by Hugh Jackman, seeks to live in eternity with his true love, played by Rachel Weisz. It is a heartbreaking tale filled with stunning visuals of our vast Universe. The film is definitely not for everyone, but it is unquestionably a one-of-a-kind movie that should be seen at least once.


Mother! image

Mother! is without a doubt the most disturbing film of Aronofsky’s career. The film is another take on a biblical story, this time being an allegory for the Book of Genesis. The entire film takes place in a country home where the relationship between Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) and Him (Javier Bardem) is put to the test as unexpected guests begin to arrive and disrupt their peaceful existence. Lawrence’s character represents Earth, while Bardem’s character represents God. As more and more guests arrive, eventually resulting in a jaw-dropping climax of destruction, we see the story of Genesis unfold and how humans hold the responsibility for the destruction of Mother Earth.


Pi image

This 1998 psychological horror film was Aronofsky’s directorial debut that proved his brilliance as an innovative filmmaker. Pi follows the reclusive mathematician, Max (Sean Gullette) as he obsessively attempts to find complete order of the Universe through numbers. His quest eventually leads to a complete breakdown resulting in hallucinations, paranoia, and physical agony. Mark Margolis gives an expected fantastic performance as his former math teacher, Sol. The film gained critical success and went on to win the Directing Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

3The Wrestler

The Wrestler image

The small film about a washed-up pro-wrestler resurrected the career of Mickey Rourke in his Oscar-nominated performance of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson. The Wrestler almost seems like a documentary as we follow Ram through his personal journey of redemption. Rourke is flawless in his performance and you will surely be rooting for Ram until the heartbreaking ending. It’s a story of self-acceptance and coming to terms with the realities of life and getting older. At the same time, it is an unconventional and honest love story between Ram and a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). Even people who despise wrestling will love this film.

2Black Swan

Black Swan image

Although some may disagree, Black Swan is a horror film. Natalie Portman plays Nina, a New York City ballerina who lands the lead in the production of Swan Lake, resulting in a horrifying mental and physical breakdown. Portman gives a career-defining performance as Nina, not only for her emotional range but also for her skills as a convincing ballerina. Prior to production, Portman trained vigorously with choreographers to learn the ins and outs of dance techniques. The film also tackles a disturbing and seductive rivalry between Nina and another ballerina, Lily (Mila Kunis). Through the use of mirrors, camera techniques, and visuals, Aronofsky proved himself, once again, as a master of precision with this terrifying film.

1Requiem For A Dream

Requiem for a Dream image

Addiction plays the main protagonist in this adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr.’s novel. The story follows four characters who hope for better lives but are inevitably destroyed by drug addiction. The mix of innovative editing, ear-piercing score, and brilliant performances make Requiem for a Dream a once-in-a-lifetime film about addiction. Ellen Burstyn particularly shines, giving an Oscar-nominated performance as Sara Goldfarb, a binge-eating recluse who becomes dangerously addicting to diet pills. The film portrays the harsh truths of addiction and gives us a soul-crushing story of broken dreams and self-destruction.

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