Vox Lux (2018) Poster

(2018)

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7/10
Edgy, allegorical depiction of social decadence
PotassiumMan11 December 2018
Natalie Portman stars in this very unusual, intriguing but flawed film that explores several different genres in tackling pop culture and its sordid grip on the national consciousness at the dawn of the new millennium. Is this a satirical bombardment? One could argue. Is it a tragic indictment? Definite possibility. One thing it is not is straightforward.

This film gets by on the strength of its performances and its committed portrayal of the poisonous celebrity lifestyle and the emotional toll it exacts. Portman is explosive as the grown-up pop star who came from humble beginnings and found her survival of a horrific school shooting catapulting her into national prominence when she performed a song at a televised vigil. Jude Law is sharp as her gruff, street-smart manager who early on helps transform her from a victim of tragedy into a gaudy, commercialized monstrosity. Raffey Cassidy shines in dual roles as the pop starlet in her younger days, and as her teenage daughter in the film's second half.

There are drawbacks. A dry, detached voiceover narration by Willem Dafoe is more often a glaring distraction than an enhancement. And the film's simplistic juxtaposition of acts of terrorism and concert tours only tentatively conveys the theme of the intertwining of tragedy and pop culture. The film is obviously trying to echo its plot thread that takes hold in the beginning but it seems so faint by contrast.

Thought-provoking but more for the thesis that it tackles than for its actual achievement, this film is worth watching. How well it succeeds depends on how you view Portman's performance. Does she eviscerate the entertainment industry as immoral with a lightning-rod portrayal of wasted youth? Or does she dilute the film's impact by giving a performance that is too much of a caricature to constitute an allegory? Decide for yourself.

I freely admit that this film is not for everyone while acknowledging that I myself found it quite compelling. Finally, a splendid array of well-performed songs and a sterling soundtrack add to the film's favor. Recommended.
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9/10
A modern classic
KarenAM8 October 2018
Young writer and director Brady Corbet, delivers a magnificent and terrifying craft with Vox Lux, as it follows a dramatic rise to a stardom of a teenage girl who is a survivor of a school shooting. The unusual circumstances that can turn a victim into a cultural phenomenon with millions of followers. The film is so brutally honest in its portrayal of the modern pop trash culture that its painful to admit but so hard not to follow. Overall weirdness and art-housey approach of the film may scare general audience off and derail from wider recognition by shutting down any chances for the film's commercial success. Natalie Portman, who plays the superstar Celeste in the movie, is deserving of her second Oscar more than ever.

Director knows exactly what he is aiming for with his skillful directing and insightful writing, unafraid to take risks. Having Willem Defoe to gradually narrate your story into a Sia song is a guaranteed classic alone. Brady Corbet never puts a foot wrong with either the visuals or the music, making Celeste's story feel like the story of modern America. Truly one of the highlights of the recent years.
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2/10
Yikes - starts really well - a narcisstic mess by the end
peedur12 December 2018
This film suffers from the same kind of poor choices which would cause someone to, say, make a 9/11 disco musical. It wields an enormous subject and chooses to focus on the most irrelevant aspects of any reaction to that subject.

It doesn't really matter what you want to say - the bizarre, unresolved context for the setup feels faintly obscene and eventually bankrupt. If the point of the film is to illustrate the shallowness of reactions to terror and violence, then it failed to say that. Instead, it looks more like a statement about the parallels between self-expression, terrorism, self-obsession, or losing your identity to celebrity, or something... By the end of the film I was deeply annoyed.

Hats-off the all of the professionals who clearly know how to make an impressive film here. But this story however, is a mess of intensity looking for a point. I believe that it fails eventually because of the indigestible premise.
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6/10
Vox Lux (2018)
rockman1829 December 2018
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.

6/10
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9/10
one of the best movies of the year if you pay attention to the director's vision.
kingsgrl201018 November 2018
Vox Lux has a daring + clear vision by Brady Corbet, it doesn't sugar coat real tragedies that effect our society. and with Natalie Portman's performance you feel the weight of the choices and circumstances of where a person can end up. It's has pretty dark moments, that if you pay attention to Brady's vision, it should create a bigger discussion. Raffey Cassidy stands out giving an even more memorable performance than in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, you feel for her as a young Celeste, trying to figure out her next journey in life with very little guidance. A woman's journey through tragedy told in a stylistic dark approach. Vox Lux has become one of my favorites of the year.
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7/10
Interesting, Artsy Drama Headlined by Natalie Portman
bastille-852-7315477 December 2018
The reviews and trailer for this film promised a strong performance by Natalie Portman as a troubled pop star. While some of the praise for her role in "Vox Lux" may be somewhat overhyped, she does give a generally good performance in this drama directed by Brady Corbet. She plays Celeste, a now-famous pop star who survived a school shooting in 1999. The film gives viewers a grip on how those who get too all-consumed in the superficiality of pop music culture can lose control over their lives, although sometimes the dialogue and writing during these scenes can sometimes feel almost too on-the-nose to be truly impactful on the viewer.

The film is stunningly shot, and its score is often stirring and potent. Jude Law's supporting performance is outstanding, providing a powerfully subdued complement to the main narrative as Celeste's manager. With the exception of the memorial song sung by a young Celeste at a vigil for the shooting victims about ten minutes after film's commencement, the rest of the film's songs (which are pop-based) are generally not too appealing. However, this is likely intentional, as Corbet's direction is intended to make the viewer critique popular culture and its effects on music and society, as well as the possibility that our social obsessions may breed tragic and wretched acts. Despite such potentially-thoughtful commentary, it's not clear by the end of the film what Corbet really wants to say or offer as a message to the narrative besides simply saying that excess tackiness is bad. While superficiality is an important topic, for a film that poses far deeper, existential and angst-filled questions, the film's attempts to thread loose ends of its messaging before the film's finale (a pop concert) feel somewhat skimpy. The film's stronger elements would make it worth of recommending to those who like Natalie Portman and can appreciate sometimes-audacious and challenging films. 7/10
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9/10
An uncompromising finish
JustinDavis363613 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Vox Lux is bold, thought provoking, and objective; everything that you would expect from a great film. Corbet was able to take defining events from the past 30 years and show how our defining moments as a nation have been illustrated through tragedy.

Although there were some moments of confusion and what seems to be superficial conversations, Corbet delivers a powerful message that will cause you to think about his film more than you will with any other one.

This film is worth a watch.
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10/10
One of my favorites this year.
noahbeanslice-223-26233211 November 2018
Natalie Portman transcends in the most challenging and unshakable film I've seen this year.

*spoilers!*

Brady Corbet's Vox Lux has an "angle" unlike the other post-Columbine, post-911 films that simply objectify traumatic events (think Gus Van Sant's Elephant (2003)).

Corbet gives terrorism an origin story.

obviously, his aspirations are doomed from the get-go. No one can present some catch-all to explain how terrorists develop their thinking.

the only thing we can be sure of is that our news-media platforms will scrape every variable together in one place, inevitably dissolving the barrier between infamy and fame.

I was discouraged seeing dozens of people walking out of the 41st-Annual Denver Film Festival premiere but I understood their decision.

Vox Lux's subject matter is difficult, and I don't think I'll watch it again soon, but it provides an indescribable feeling of media-saturated hysteria that's uncomfortable for most people to try and process, myself included.

this film captures the existential dread you sometimes feel when every image in your Instagram/Apple News feed feels like it's not only connected, but also reinforcing the worst aspects of society. You open up your phone: another mass shooting, Kanye West hugs Trump, California wildfire burns, etc. This movie proposes that these things are all closely related, and directly influencing one another.

in Celeste's "21st-Century Portrait", space and time are rendered meaningless, as her geography (physical distance) does nothing to separate her from the emotional repercussions of her work, and 17 years (tangential distance) has failed to separate her from the trauma of her childhood. She feels like she's been travelling on a straight highway road, but history/media indicate that she's only moving in cycles.

the way events/subjects blend and juxtapose, having Celeste's private thoughts manifest themselves in public arenas, and vice-versa, is a very unique, very 21-century type of disorienting angst. Kudos to Corbet.







wasn't a good date night flick, however.
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1/10
I want my hour back
cshaath7 December 2018
One of the few movies I walked out of. It was like an expensive student film trying too hard to be inventive. It went from one inane scene to the other with no cohesiveness just one attempt to be shocking after the other . Maybe the end was the payoff but I doubt it and just did not think it was worth anymore of my time
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1/10
Terrible
sycre815 December 2018
Disjointed mess. Would have walked out but was stuck there.
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2/10
Uncomfortable + disturbing
kathryngosik2 December 2018
I went into this film and felt blindsided by the subject matter. There were so many aspects to the film I didn't enjoy; the narration over sped up clips, the use of the same actors for different characters, the many in resolved story lines. I left this screening feeling extremely uneasy and disturbed.
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2/10
A BUMBLE BEE MESS .Don't waste your time
michaelgreermd-6264920 December 2018
One of the worst movies of the year.. Natalie Portland is a overacting performer. Casting is really confusing.. Way too much stupid and unnecessary scenes.. A real garbage truck production. They love themselves with massive credits before and after the film..A waste. Wish I read the reviews before..Oh well !!
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1/10
Do not fall for the hype, completely worthless film
kregmcm11 December 2018
Brady is a handsome fellow, he is no sort of director, and this movie proves it, how he got any of these actors involved with such drivel is beyond me, not everything that glitters is gold, and here all you get is fools gold, sloppy, irregular and not an enjoyable film, not because of the subject matter but the film itself, one gigantic mess.

wait to rent it if you must pay to see it, otherwise do yourself a favor and skip this one, you're not missing out.
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1/10
SO AWFUL/CONFUSING
superwarriorprincess15 December 2018
It's written in a really weird way. There are two parts to it, a past and a present and it is just such a train wreck. It was very boring and a hard plot to follow. Stereotypical portrayal of the hard life of an artist. There were so many musical performances that were so long that it felt like a musical. No real/good story line here. Only sat through it because we paid for it else it was torture to sit through. Not sure how Natalie Portman could do such an awful movie with no real storyline or clear path. It just did not make any sense.
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1/10
Crap
markmarkzablan8 December 2018
I gave it a chance but it's really just a mess. A total mess.
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2/10
Exactly as You said Brady: Not entertaining!
olle-hogrell17 November 2018
I saw this movie at the Swedish Premiere, during the Stockholm Film Festival in November 2018. Director Brady Corbert introduced his work, prior to the viewing. More memorable than the movie itself was the discussion with audience and director afterwards. Brady Corbert is a young, talented man with a sombre approach to the world, to people and to humanity. He is also, on top of that, rather self-important. During the Question Time, he received courteous but constructive criticism. An answer I will remember is this: "If there's any shortage in my movie at all, it might be that it can be seen as in some parts slightly entertaining." That statement says a lot about the director's view of life, people, art and the audience, paying to be entertained. Sorry Brady, but this is just not good enough, in fact it's not even worth the price of a Cinema ticket.
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1/10
Garbage Movie for Morons
whitneymannies19 December 2018
A script that is equal parts pretentious and superficial. Repeatedly explicit about its obvious allegorical critique of America even while also decrying the dumbing down of Americans. Lazy and self-congratulatory cultural critique. The very best example of why voice over is often just a sign of inept character and plot development. Characters have indiscernible motivations and incoherent personalities, not because they are played by bad actors, but because they are played by good actors who cannot save a script that only manages to communicate a director's sense of self-importance. I would not trust anyone who likes this movie.

Vox Lux made me so angry that I created this IMDB account just to dump on it. People deserve better than this pseudo-intellectual trash.
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1/10
Awful movie
HIfilm888823 November 2018
This film was at the Hawaii International Film Festival and it was awful - possibly the worst for Natalie Portman and Jude Law. We were especially disappointed as fans of Portman. This film came across like it was a high school film project. The narration did not fit the movie nor did the scene introductions which were harsh and the editing was bad.
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2/10
Worst movie I have seen - bar none!
redrockwriters16 December 2018
I see many, many movies. I am also a punished author and aspiring screenwriter. This movie is just awful...a real trainwreck! Allen Kelley
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10/10
can't stop thinking about it
rcrosby112923 December 2018
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I can't remember the last time a movie made me feel the ways this movie did. There was such a mix of emotions this movie created that keeps you connected to the characters. This movie may not be for everyone, especially if you go in expecting something it is not. There were amazing perfirmances through out. I would rate 11 out of 10 if possible.
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7/10
A Haunting Version of A Star is Born
ThomasDrufke19 December 2018
I waited nearly 4 days to write this review/reaction because I genuinely wasn't sure how I felt after seeing Vox Lux. I'm not the first one to say this but it's quite the pairing with A Star is Born for what could be the best double feature of 2018, with both portraying such a vastly different take on rise to stardom. Much like other 2018 films Hereditary and 22 July, there are a few scenes in Vox Lux that I will never forget in that they are some of the most haunting and terrifying sequences I have ever seen on film. However, a film like 22 July had an easier plot to follow and a much more direct narrative, whereas Vox Lux is a dark interpretation of fame, and an interpretation that doesn't give the clearest clues as to how your supposed to feel after viewing. The performances are extraordinary, including yet another star-making turn from Raffey Cassidy and expectedly great turns from Jude Law and of course, Natalie Portman. Even if I'm not totally sure on how I feel about this film, I know that I want more films to be this bold and daring.

7.4/10
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8/10
Brady Corbet: guaranteed to challenge his audience's expectations
Stay_away_from_the_Metropol20 December 2018
One thing is certain about director Brady Corbet: he's always up for challenging his viewer's expectations. When a movie doesn't deliver in the most typical of senses, it begets a plentiful amount of confused people which then translates to "it sucks" because they don't know what else to do with their confusion. His debut Childhood of a Leader followed the same suit.

Vox Lux is certainly not a perfect film, but I liked it quite a lot. It's a real freakshow of a movie - the fact that it even got made and released in 2018 is wild. It's a very ambitious feat. Structurally, it's far from typical. It will certainly leave you asking a few questions, and I think it will leave a lot of...specific types of people...bored, but I enjoyed how singular it's focus was. The first half is incredibly strong, the second half will likely make you question your own feelings. Scott Walker's score was great (not as powerful as the Childhood of a Leader score, but that's okay..."Druggie" is still a new gem of a jam). Though young Rafey Cassidy fumbled a bit at times in A TRADITIONAL SENSE (like covering up her accent for example), she managed to deliver the most captivating performance in the movie by quite a stretch. Stacy Martin's acting was focused, tasteful, and it certainly doesn't hurt that she's breathtakingly gorgeous. Jude Law and Natalie Portman come off as wanking about in a lot of the scenes but somehow it fits and almost adds to their characters and this bizarre film as a whole. Portman is mostly annoying but she's supposed to be - but it's progressive, it does blossom into something piercing and you feel it when it hits full bloom.

I wouldn't recommend this movie to the average person but I find it to be quite one-of-a-kind, quite daring, and due to that, a bit of a special gem. I enjoyed the concert. I am excited to observe Brady Corbet's full career as a filmmaker thoroughly.
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1/10
Disappointing mess
Emma_liberty16 January 2019
As a filmmaker myself, I value watching quirky independent films and as a fan of Natalie's, I was utterly disappointed with this mess. I almost want to ask her, what the heck was she thinking with this film?! The script felt like it was two badly written scripts merged into one, kind of like that episode in Friends, when Rachel got the beef dinner and trifle recipe mixed up!

I started to enjoy the first part of the story, but up until the Stockholm part with the sisters, it completely lost me. I also thought it was a very weird choice to cast the same actress to play both Natalie as younger and her daughter. The end part with all the singing and dancing was also very weird, as I felt this time could have been more wisely used to answer questions about the relationship of the sisters.

An absolute rushed disaster of a film - I never thought I would write this for a Natalie Portman film. Very overacted also! Please stick to the quirky nerd girl films and don't be a pop star in your next projects!!
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3/10
Nothing makes much sense in "Vox Lux"
alvesmarceloalves-7375114 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Seeing the trailer shortly before its release, "Vox Lux" seemed to me a cross of "Black Swan" (2010) with "A star is born" (2018). The allusion to the first film was clearly related to the fact that it also starred Natalie Portman as an artist. There, a ballerina. Here, a pop star. Already the comparison with the second film came more for the subject of talking about a pop singer.

"Vox Lux", however, talks more about the decay of a star, while "A star is born" is more about the rise of a singer in the midst of the fall of her boyfriend also singer.

Roughly speaking, that's what the movie is about. The difficult thing is to find in Brady Corbet's work a narrative structure beyond this cliché vision. And also a reflection on what the director intended to say with all the elements he gathered in this film.

Lack depth to "Vox Lux". What did Corbet mean by associating attacks and the brutal violence of terrorism and mass murder with the story of a girl who soon became a pop star? Is Celeste the result of violence for being in a school attacked by a boy in the same mold of Columbine? Is that why you want to become a pop star? To bring joy to the fans in the midst of the violence?

Violence is always present in your career. The beginning of the attack on the school, the middle during the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 2001 and the rebirth when it has to deal with an attack in Croatia that closely resembles that of a Tunisian beach in 2015. And what this all has to do with a young star who turns into a very young mother and becomes an inconsequent adult, drugged and alcoholic, but at the same time a pop diva full of fans?

Corbet is not clear on what he wants with his film. And it is not even intended to leave on the air subjects for the spectator to reflect for itself. In fact, "Vox Lux" is a big mess that does not point in one direction at all.

Meanwhile, Natalie Portman tries to defend her character with claw. We've never seen her so full of trifles. Her Celeste is a caricature of the pop stars, but the way of the sarcasm seems only taken by her and not accompanied by the film, that still counts on a Jude Law rarely apathetic in the paper of the manager of Celeste.

"Vox Lux" still ends with a long take on a show, which reminded me of the embarrassing ending of "Bohemian Rhapsody". If there was any message to give at that moment, whether through the performance or the messages on the big screen, they were not clear. Or even symbolic. It was a big nothing.

The feeling that remains is exactly that void that "Vox Lux" has passed. It could have been better, but it was a waste of time.
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8/10
I didn't want it to end
brookewy130 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It's nihilistic parallels between the main character Celeste and the horrors around mass shootings were intriguing, and made for an interesting storyline. At first I was irritated by the abrupt ending, but I realized I was continuously returning to it in my thoughts, which was probably the point. Worth seeing.
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