Starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Ehle, Jude Law, Stacy Martin, Raffey Cassidy
“Vox Lux” is a perplexing experience from Actor turned director Brady Corbett (“Escobar: Paradise Lost”). A horrific school shooting sets the tone for what we are about to see, though that tone shifts in succeeding chapters. Even though the shooting is supposed to be a major theme, Corbett’s script tries to showcase its effect on one individual, on pop culture, etc. It’s a laborious affair as we all wait to see Natalie Portman’s (“Jackie”) outlandish role. For a movie about a pop-star, we don’t see Portman in her Gaga-esque outfit until the final moments. Raffey Cassidy does a really impressive impersonation of Natalie Portman as “young Celeste,” but Portman does not consider that personification as the older Celeste. In fact, the change in accent and mannerisms is so stark that it will leave some in the audience confused.
After a horrific school shooting injury debilitates young Celeste (Cassidy), a heart-wrenching survivors’ she sings at her farm town church lands a record deal. With her sister by her side, they drop out of school and head to New York to seek fame and fortune. Ultimately the meek young girl turns into a bitter, drug-addicted pop star who fails as a sister and later as a mother. A massacre by terrorists wearing masks Celeste has been using to promote her new album brings the story full circle.
"..."Vox Lux" simply recycles the same rise and fall, substance and sex abuse plot points we’ve seen in so many dramas about music stars."
“Vox Lux” is a train wreck. Whatever it’s trying to say inadvertently about gun violence and pop culture will be lost on the average viewer. ”Vox Lux” is the type of film most wouldn’t pay to see because it’s deranged narrative is rarely sensible. When it is sensible “Vox Lux” simply recycles the same rise and fall, substance and sex abuse plot points we’ve seen in so many dramas about music stars. His vintage opening credit sequence is a throwback to “Silence of the Lambs,” and it’s only the first 15 minutes that feel mildly exceptional.
Some are finding Portman’s performance something to celebrate. However, I have never seen the Oscar winner deliver something so overacted. Cassidy’s young Celeste doesn’t really speak with an accent, yet Portman adult Celeste has a very pronounced one. By the time we get to a press conference where Celeste is calling herself God before falling on her face outside a hotel room, the film has gone so far off any message, that not even the shiny leotard and silver-haired finale can bring order to this chaos.
“Vox Lux” is a tragic chaotic cluster of a film that suffers from the inexperience of one after and overacting by another.