Cody’s review published on Letterboxd:
"What the hell do you think that was about?"
- One of the three other people at my showing of Vox Lux
Wow. All I can say is wow. This film completely floored me. I was expecting A Star is Born, but we got something completely different. Both focus on the life of a pop star, but Vox Lux goes in a completely different direction, one that I wasn't expecting, and one that makes it so much more memorable.
Natalie Portman is one of my favorite actresses. I've only seen a few films from her, but from the ones I have seen, she has blown me away every single time. This is no different with Vox Lux, with Celeste being a character unlike anything that I have seen her in before. She may have only been in half of the film, but she was a superstar, just as Celeste was. Every scene was electric with her, especially the final sequence at her concert, which is one of the most stunningly directed scenes of the year from what I've seen. Raffey Cassidy does double duty here, playing young Celeste, as well as her daughter, and does both seamlessly. Some of the film's best moments are in the first act, and Cassidy has some of the best monologues as well. Celeste's character is very relatable at times, and towards the end of the film, becomes somebody that nobody wants to become, creating a very interesting character arc altogether.
To say that I was on the edge of my seat during the film would be an understatement. From the film's opening violence, the film is relentless. Similarly to Widows, this film keeps the interest going, even if the film does slow down a lot. Luckily, due to the fantastic performances and gorgeous cinematography, this film stays engaging throughout the entire show. Once I started thinking about what was going on, I started developing unease, especially when entering into the second act. I got a similar sense of anxiety, similar to the feeling of watching Funny Games or The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which ended up inducing a panic attack in the end for me, which was heightened in the final scene. Luckily, once the film was over, I was able to compose myself and am doing better now. Unease flows throughout the film, and you truly never know what is going to happen next.
Vox Lux is one of this year's most original concepts, and has some of the strongest performances as well. It's a shame that this film is only being played at two theaters here in Vegas, since it's a film that is going to resonate with many people, even if they can't fully understand adult Celeste's choices. It's a beautifully shot film that actually makes you think about what the film is about, especially with the final narration giving even more food for thought. I may not have a complete idea what the film is about right now, but will be very interested to see how others have interpreted Corbert's vision. I hope to see this film another time on the big screen, since it's the only place that you could fully embrace what Vox Lux has to offer.