Vox Lux ★★★★

Based entirely off the second act, Vox Lux would be a look at the indulgent and greedy, how wanting only turns into more wanting. None of that is necessarily material either - Celeste wants more control, more authority, more freedom. She supplements her lack of these things by numbing herself with alcohol and sex, and lashing out at anyone who tries to help. She knows best.

But the first half of the film shows a talented blank canvas, living with PTSD before being swept up in the media machine. Her songs heal and her talent is adored. Between then and now, many things go terribly wrong.

Stories are about the journey, but by removing it, Vox Lux is more interested in the before and after, and the question of - how did we get here? Journeys are subtle, footsteps down the wrong path can be discreet until it's too late.

It's hard to blame Celeste for any of it though. Not when documentaries like Amy exist. She might be channeling frustration and hurt from how she's been treated, but who were the ones who treated her that way? Fans who only expect the best, label executives who see her only as a money-making product. She's become an image, a brand, dehumanised, able to perform on command.

Her performance is ultimately bittersweet. She can keep going like this, making others happy because they demand it of her, but they don't care about her. We ask so much of the people we enjoy, often without stopping to wonder how they feel about us enjoying them. The healthiest of relationships are two-way, where both parties can check in and be attentive. Whether it's celebrity, influencer, or even just a pretty active social media account, it's tempting to be swept up by how you're supposed to act rather than how you want to. Vox Lux isn't interested in how we got here. But where do we go from here?