The Natalie Portman vehicle has been around for a long time VOX LUX keep waiting. Now the fake biopic about a successful pop singer is also appearing in USA cinemas, but it is disappointing in that you would not have known everything that is being shown here. We reveal more about this in our review.
Celeste enjoys a moment of silence with her daughter (Raffey Cassidy).
The plot summary
In 1999, teenager Celeste survives a violent tragedy. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a blossoming pop star with the help of her songwriter sister and a talent manager. Celeste’s meteoric rise to fame and accompanying loss of innocence dovetails with a shocking terrorist attack on the nation, elevating the young bundle of energy to a new form of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar. Around 2017, Celeste makes a comeback after a scandalous incident that derailed her career. On tour in support of her sixth album, a compendium of paeans to science fiction titled “Vox Lux,” the irrepressible, foul-mouthed pop icon must overcome her personal and familial struggles to navigate motherhood, madness and monumental fame in the Age of Terror to navigate.
Vox Lux Movie Meaning & ending
The lives and careers of superstars make great film material. Hardly any path to the top of the world comes without sacrifices and setbacks. And if so, then the latter often doesn’t take long to arrive after the time on the acting or music Olympus. Director Brady Corbet (“Childhood of a Leader”) was so impressed that he didn’t even bother to get the rights to any celebrity’s CV, but instead created a kind of fake biopic with “Vox Lux”. The focus is on the pop megastar Celeste (played by Raffey Cassidy when she was young and played by Natalie Portman when she grows up), who, through obscure circumstances, slides into a global career as a singer. Obscure because nothing less than a shooting spree ensures that all of America and later the entire world becomes aware of the young teenager’s extraordinary voice. And of course that is cynicism in its purest form. But once you’ve swallowed this premise, “Vox Lux” turns out to be a pretty generic drama about the fall and rise of an artist, in which you never really know what was actually intended with his pictures. Is he mocking the business? His protagonist? The viewers and listeners? And is the terribly meaningless plastic pop in the last twenty minutes really supposed to be thrilling? A whole lot of question marks arise about “Vox Lux” over the course of its 110 minutes, which gradually lose their appeal the more generic the film becomes.
Celeste (Natalie Portman) has her glory days behind her.
“Vox Lux” begins with the killing spree. Celeste experiences it first hand and even stands in the way of the killer, being shot and seriously wounded. On the way to the hospital – the camera follows the ambulance at a discreet distance as it drives down the street – director and writer Brady Corbet has the opening credits (or closing credits?) scroll through the picture from bottom to top, until at the end only the words ” A 21st Century Portrait” can be read – so it shouldn’t just be about Celeste. Instead, the young woman represents a whole century in which people walk over corpses for success, while success turns them into walking corpses, so to speak. Meanwhile, the narrator’s voice of Willem Dafoe (“Van Gogh – On the Threshold of Eternity”) can be heard off-screen , classifying the events in an analytical and interpretive way. There is certainly artistic ambition behind this directorial decision, which is somewhat reminiscent of the opening scene in Gaspar Noé’s “Climax” , but it is also the only one for the following 100 minutes that distinguishes “Vox Lux” from conventional ones in any way ( Fake biopics take off. Shortly after the credits roll, Corbet chronologically follows the events that turn Celeste from aspiring pop star to star – and then cause her downfall.
Brady Corbet looks into conference rooms, takes a seat at negotiating tables, listens to dogged marketing people and watches the young Celeste as she is passed from one music manager to the next until the “product” is finally suitable for the masses and the music is guaranteed to be catchy. It is unnecessary to mention that the singer Celeste very quickly has nothing to do with the young, shy girl, to whom the viewer will never get as close as in the minutes before and after the funeral service. Although the narrative here adapts to the main character, with Corbet moving further away from Celeste with every minute of the game, until the viewer finally only sees her outer, promising shell, it is still difficult to find access to her. Especially because Raffey Cassidy (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) and later Natalie Portman (“Extinction”) hit the nail on the head with their gradually becoming increasingly aloof performances. Nevertheless: As a character study, “Vox Lux” only works to a very limited extent. Especially when, in the second half, hysterical tantrums and nervous breakdowns turn out to be predictable escalations that only make assertions about the inner character of the main character. At some point we no longer even know whether we are seeing Celeste as a calculating drama queen or whether she is really doing badly. In addition, alcohol crashes, drug escapades and misfires at press conferences are certainly not innovative scenarios to show how fucked up the life of a (former) superstar is.
While the supporting actors all submit to their rather one-dimensional characters, Jude Law (“Captain Marvel”) about the shady manager and Stacy Martin (“Nymph()maniac”) the self-sacrificing, desperate sister, it is above all the staging that makes “Vox Lux” look far more interesting visually and acoustically than narratively. Lol Crawley’s feverish camera work is particularly impressive in the twenty-minute final performance that Celeste shows at one of her concerts (“Mandela – The Long Road to Freedom”) in stark contrast to the actually so expressionless pop songs that Portman’s Celeste seems to despair of several times. Observing their dogged facial expressions turns out to be a big highlight in this final quarter, while you constantly ask yourself whether the meaningless music is just intended to underline how ridiculous things actually are in this superficial business, or whether Brady Corbet is this form of music actually considered particularly strong. In the audience we see Stacey Martin and Raffey Cassidy (she plays Celeste’s daughter in the second half), who watch the goings-on with equal skepticism. Here “Vox Lux” achieves what was so painfully missed in the previous hour and a half: Corbet lets his protagonist shape the film. Before that, he makes them the playthings of an interchangeable musician’s drama – if you’re honest, then formally it actually fits quite well; After all, the young woman has little say here.
Conclusion: What begins as an extraordinary viewing experience in which director Brady Corbet dissects the music business in a particularly provocative way, over time becomes a fake biopic like any other, in which Natalie Portman stands out, but which has nothing new to say about the cynicism of the pop star world .
“Vox Lux” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from July 25th.