Audio News & Reviews

Vox Lux Movie Review

Vox Lux Review

By Matthew Passantino

Pop Scar

Dear reader, I cannot tell a lie. “Vox Lux” is a bit of a tough sit and likely to turn most people off as it relishes in its nihilistic attitude towards the world around it. I would also be lying if I said say every frame, every moment, and every inch of the film didn’t intoxicate me in its deep, dark world.

Writer-director Brady Corbet has a lot on his mind in “Vox Lux,” incorporating various themes and tonal shifts throughout. At times, “Vox Lux” can be devastating. In the blink of an eye, it can turn to a pitch black comedy and satire. There’s commentary galore, ready to leave you bewildered as you exit the theater.

The movie begins with a tragedy set in a Staten Island classroom in 1999. Teenage Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) is injured but survives, while sustaining a neck wound. At a community eulogy for the victims of the senseless act, Celeste performs a song with her sister (Stacy Martin), which catches the ear of the right people. All of a sudden, Celeste has a manager (Jude Law), an interested record label, and talks of playing shows. She’s on her way to becoming a star.


Just shy of an hour into the film, it’s 2017 and Natalie Portman now plays Celeste. She is preparing to release her new album and go on tour, but her career and lifestyle has caught up to her in a way that’s changed her attitude about the music landscape. On the surface, Celeste is a walking cliché and a collection of typical perceptions about musicians. She’s an erratic, drug-snorting, rule-breaking pop star with more demands than desire to perform. As portrayed by Portman, she’s so much more.

Portman’s performance is so easy to write-off because she swallows all the scenery around her with her capital-A acting that plays to the back of the theater. While donning a thick Staten Island accent and heavy make-up, Portman sees beyond Celeste’s exterior and imbues fragility in a deeply unlikable character. Celeste has been on a journey and we have taken it with her so, in some twisted way, the movie has us rooting for her, even at her most insufferable.

“Vox Lux” is about the cyclical nature of violence and the responsibility it places on those who orbit it. It’s a sad but fascinating topic, which is far too relatable to what we see in the world today. Paired with commentary about fame, celebrity, and the music industry, “Vox Lux” finds ways to constantly surprise you, while blending everything into one fascinating movie.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews