Vox Lux (2018)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Vox Lux probes the allures and pitfalls of modern celebrity with sharp intelligence and visual style, all held together by an assured Natalie Portman performance.

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Movie Info

VOX LUX, A 21st Century Portrait, begins in 1999 when teenage Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) survives a violent tragedy. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a burgeoning pop star with the help of her songwriter sister (Stacy Martin) and talent manager (Jude Law). Celeste's meteoric rise to fame dovetails with a personal and national loss of innocence, consequently elevating the young powerhouse to a new kind of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar. By 2017, adult Celeste (Natalie Portman) is mounting a comeback after a scandalous incident almost derailed her career. Touring in support of her sixth album, a compendium of sci-fi anthems entitled, "Vox Lux," the indomitable, foul-mouthed pop savior must overcome her personal and familial struggles to navigate motherhood, madness and monolithic fame.

Cast

Natalie Portman
as Adult Celeste
Jude Law
as The Manager
Raffey Cassidy
as Albertine, Young Celeste
Stacy Martin
as Eleanor
Jennifer Ehle
as Josie, the Publicist

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Critic Reviews for Vox Lux

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (32)

Through it all, Natalie Portman is a gamer, but in the case of this neon nightmare of a film, it was Game Over long before she hit the concert stage.

Dec 14, 2018 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Ultimately, the indulgent "Vox Lux" comes across like a puzzling leaked demo that hasn't been finessed into a cohesive song.

Dec 14, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

"Vox Lux" throws a lot at the wall, and while not all of it sticks, it still manages to rattle a nerve and linger long after the credits roll.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

After a point, we're left wondering whether we're watching a character study or caricature. Either way, the portrait gradually morphs from intriguing to tedious.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Corbet has no time for conventional psychology and nuance. He's a sensationalist, primarily. But he knows how to move a camera, and while it may be thin, his movie is never less than engrossing in its strangeness.

Dec 12, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

I disagree with this puritanism about pop culture, but I respect that "Vox Lux" actually has ideas on the subject. And I'm happy that such moralism doesn't prevent Corbet from filling his own movie with style, humor and pleasure.

Dec 10, 2018 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Vox Lux

½

It's always a challenge to please moviegoers who want original content or movies that reflect our society today, due to the fact that filmmakers take chances in making them abstract. While the subject matter of Vox Lux is very relevant in today's day in age, I fear this film will not please many average moviegoers at first glance. Vox Lux is one of the more frustrating viewing experiences in recent memory, at least to me. I find it very rare that a movie impresses me just as much as it makes me dislike it, but I've sadly come across another one. I do like this film quite a bit overall, but this review definitely isn't going to be praising it for those who have yet to see it. Dealing with major issues like school shooting throughout the first act of the film, Vox Lux follows a young survivor in Celeste. After singing in public, she very rapidly receives critical praise and rises to super-stardom after a series of lucky breaks. Devolving into someone who now just appeals to the masses at an older age, the majority of this film deals with her drug and alcohol addictions. The plot itself, along with the natural progression of events is truly what made this film enjoyable, and the performances didn't hurt either. Raffey Cassidy as young Celeste was fantastic and I can actually see Natalie Portman receiving nominations for her performance in this particular role as the older Celeste, but the casting itself wasn't great in my opinion. Without ruining the third act of the movie, there are some very strange casting decisions that may work for some viewers, but completely took me out of the film. On top of that, where I feel the majority of audience members may lose interest is specifically throughout the final act. The first two acts held my attention quite well and I did believe that I was about to find another favourite film of 2018, but the finale of the film felt a little too simple and unsatisfying. Dealing with some very mature themes throughout most of the movie, I was hoping for a much deeper finale. Admittedly, there are a few scenes of character interaction that were very powerful, but that's just due to the fact that Natalie Portman brings her best here. Vox Lux begins with a lot of potential, which is why I found the conclusion to be disappointing. From the visuals to the overall score, this was a very atmospheric picture that held my interest even when characters weren't even speaking, but that only lasted for so long in my opinion. This is a film that deals with a lot of issues and a lot of different time periods of this character's life, which is where my biggest complaint lies. This film is only 110 minutes long and there are scenes of people speaking to each other that last far too long, especially when other characters and storylines could've been explored a little further. This movie lingers for a long period of time on certain moments and then jumps forward in time, as if nothing interesting was going to happen. I felt like the movie cheated me a little. In the end, Vox Lux has a great score and some very solid cinematography, along with a great performance by Natalie Portman. Those elements are possibly even good enough to warrant nominations, but the overall execution of the movie didn't quite leave me with much to remember. The opening few sequences of this film are absolutely riveting and jaw-dropping, but I feel as though the rest of the film was detouring to reach the finale, which wasn't all that exciting to me. I'd recommend it overall, but I just don't believe it will blow anyone away.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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