There were parts of Vox Lux that were downright haunting.
Then there were parts of Vox Lux that were just there.
After surviving a devastating school shooting, Celeste (first played by Raffey Cassidy and then by Natalie Portman) is discovered when she sings at the funeral. The Manager (Jude Law) pushes her in the direction to become a huge pop star. We then see how this woman devolves from the innocent youth to an embittered middle aged pop star.
This film was all over the place. I was extremely compelled by the opening scenes involving young Celeste. To say that the scenes of the school shooting was not frightening would be a lie. However, I do not think the film brought together the extremely powerful scenes into a common narrative.
Unless that narrative is that Celeste is a bad person who has been affected by her past. As she gets older, we see this young girl lose her innocence (which I supposed one could argue happened at the school shooting) and slip into bad behavior,both with drugs and with sex, and destructive tendencies in relationship with her sister (Stacy Martin) and her daughter (also played by Raffey Cassidy).
The end of the film, without spoiling it, felt like it came out of nowhere. The people in my theater sat and waited for the credits to finish because it seemed like something was missing. There was certainly no wrap up of the film.
There were parts of the movie where I thought we were going to get a deep psychological study of the results of survivor’s guilt or how trauma affects the life of young people, but that all felt unimportant in the overall story.
Natalie Portman was good in the role, but I thought Raffey Cassidy was much better as Celeste.
This felt like two completely different movies. The first part was haunting, but the second half felt like most party-hardy musician story you’ve ever seen. That is until the ending just jumps up at you.