mason’s review published on Letterboxd:
the deliberate invocation of columbine and 9/11 in the first act link celeste to a 21st century american identity that itself hasn't fully grappled with those high-scale traumatic events. instead of uniting and processing those traumas as a nation, we've become more fractured and contradictory. i didn't see brady's debut feature, but from the imdb logline he strikes me as a filmmaker who is interested in how history manifests itself in people whether they be conscious of it or not.
celeste is a deeply traumatized woman who chased fame, success, and vicarious pleasures instead of processing her trauma. her closest relationships have suffered. she's a 30 year old woman prone to temper tantrums. she's incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her daughter. her wealth shields her from consequences, but she still can't escape public scrutiny. when confronted with her harmful behavior she retreats and gets defensive, lashing out violently against her critics and herself. the casting of natalie portman is particularly inspired. didn't she also get famous in adolescence, thrusting her into public and maturity faster than she should've been? doesn't it always feel like any discussion of her merits as an actor come with an asterisk?
i don't know if this is "good" or not. I also don’t think every movie needs to be judged on binary terms like that. As long as the motion pictures remain a mode of expression and not just an excuse to kill two hours we have to wrestle with what’s offered to us on the works’ own terms. It’s not A Star is Born, no disrespect to A Star Is Born.
For what it’s worth i don't think its a story about fame. i think its a story about who we are in this present moment and how we look to pop music for deliverance from the daily horrors of modern living. i also don't think its an indictment of us for wanting that. why would you hire sia if you didn't want us to enjoy it just a little bit?