Didn’t know a whole lot about this film, so this was basically a film that benefited from the AMC stub list membership. Decided to go in completely blind; no trailers, no reviews, just that poster of Natalie Portman in blue glitter. From that, i was expecting some type of sci-fi futuristic musical. That’s not what the film is, as you will find out within the resounding first five minutes or so. I found this film to be a bizarre mess that doesn’t exactly know what its doing.
The film is about a teenager who is a victim of a school shooting. From that event he and her sister gain popularity from a musical performance at a memorial service which eventually molds into a music career. Soon, Celeste (the adult lead played by Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy in her youth) falls into the pitfalls of super stardom which includes promiscuous behavior, drugs, and mass interaction with an unrelenting media. The film also stars Stacy Martin (who I loved in Nymphomaniac), and narrated by Willem Defoe.
The film starts off with a bang and the first twenty minutes or so are rather incredible in its build because of its mix of shock and intense drama. However, when Celeste starts her rise as a pop star the film starts losing its soul much like Celeste in her career. Oddly, enough as soon as Celeste the star grows up and Natalie Portman enters the fray, the film starts losing its plot and derides itself into a messy piece that doesn’t connect with its viewers. The acting is great all around, especially from Portman but she is let down by a script that doesn’t know what its trying to be or what its trying to prove.
I left the theater kind of bewildered by the end product. I may have preferred a futuristic musical space opera then what we got. I think there will be a crowd out there that will go to bat for this work but it doesn’t resonate with me unfortunately. The positive that comes from this film is that now I can use the term Vox Lux as a word the way I want. i have truly been luxed by this experience.