Vox Lux 15
From the archive
This film was last shown on 16 May 2019
Natalie Portman delivers a sensational performance as a pop diva in this audacious, jaggedly cynical commentary on the nature of celebrity culture in America from director Brady Corbet (Childhood of a Leader). Vox Lux also delivers a wider review of two decades of the country’s recent history.
In 1999: teenager Celeste (Raffey Cassidy), a survivor of a high school shooting, performs a song composed with her sister (Stacy Martin) at a memorial for her murdered classmates, and in so doing captures the attention of a manager (Jude Law) who sets her on the path to fame.
Years later, the now adult Celeste (Portman, with her own daughter now played by Cassidy) is a Gaga-esque global superstar; but so wounded and jaded by the corporate machinery of the music business that she has become an entirely different animal – a hard-nosed 21st century brand. Burying her neuroses in the toxic excesses of her increasingly artificial world, she is struggling to stage a career rebirth despite personal problems and a scandal that refuses to die.
Corbet is exploring fame as a type of violence - one of many he depicts - and there is rich enjoyment to be had in his study of the contrasts between celebrity and isolation, artifice and art, the nihilistic and the humane. Featuring a magnificent score from Scott Walker and songs by Sia, plus arch narration from Willem Dafoe that sets the action at a cool remove, Vox Lux confirms the director’s status as one of the most dynamic contemporary American filmmakers. The film also offers a stunning showcase for Portman, who evinces a jaw-dropping confidence and elan as the imperious Celeste.
- Brady Corbet
- 1 hour 55 minutes
- Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Raffey Cassidy