REVIEW: VOX LUX – Starring Natalie Portman

Not one to shy away from difficult themes and strenuous training, Natalie Portman stars in Vox Lux, a dramatic film about the rise of a pop star after a horrific trauma sets her on a path to stardom. That trauma is a gruesome school shooting which Portman’s character, Celeste, survives. Like a car wreck, this film is both extremely challenging to watch but also difficult to turn away from.

Raffey Cassidy (best remembered from Disney flop Tomorrowland) shines in both her roles as a young Celeste as well as Celeste’s daughter, engaging the audience with her physicality and innocence. Of course the music, written by Sia, is catchy and beautiful, each number telling a story. Jude Law embodies the well-meaning Music Manager who gets wrapped up in the life, and drama, of his artist.

The movie is quite long, coming in at just under two hours, but visually stunning and narratively enticing.

Vox Lux is rated R and playing in select theaters now. You can watch the trailer here.

— Yael Tygiel