Vox Lux (2018)

I remember seeing the trailer to Vox Lux on TV after it premiered at Venice last September and you know what stuck with me? Natalie Portman's Black Swan-alike makeup. Despite the film's forgettability and my lack of interest in seeing it, I still checked it out because of my love for Portman. 

The film follows 18 years in the life of Celeste Montgomery (Natalie Portman as an adult, and Raffrey Cassidy as a teen). After surviving a school shooting in 1999, she is catapulted into stardom thanks to the writing skills of her sister, Ellie (Stacy Martin), and her passionate manager (Jude Law).

Yet another movie that relies on narration and chapters to tell the story, Vox Lux is a bizarre mess that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. While the first part is very interesting to follow as it is a brutally honest portrayal of the modern pop culture where terrible circumstances and tragedies are exploited to achieve money, fame, success, as well as a compelling look at a teenage experiencing sudden fame and trying to deal with surviving a tragedy, the second part, following 31-year-old Celeste, is just very boring, and the theme of terrorism doesn't really fit in.

The characters aren't particularly good either. The main characters are unlikeable, they lack motivation and their personalities aren't always coherent. I didn't feel anything about them, I didn't care. As for the minor characters, they appear from nowhere and disappear without leaving a trace.

The acting is also quite confusing. I love Natalie Portman but I did not like her in here. Not only her characters looks a bit like Nina, her performance too is similar to that she gives in Black Swan. The problem? That kind of performance doesn't fit the film. To be honest, I'm not even sure what she was doing here —like, what's up with her accent? It's only distracting. As for the rest of the cast, Jude Law looks like trash and doesn't have a lot to do here; Raffrey Cassidy, on the other hand, who for some mysterious reason plays both teenage Celeste and Celeste's daughter, Albertine, gives a quite compelling performance. The whole casting is weird to be honest as neither Jude Law nor Stacy Martin age.

There's some good in Vox Lux too. Willem Dafoe's voiceover narration definitely makes the story more compelling, the cinematography is interesting and the songs, while they are dreadfully performed, really captures the "make you feel happy" nature of pop music thanks to the lyrics written by Sia.

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