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Vox Lux
逆 光 天 后

Opening Date
28 Feb 2019
NC16 Coarse Language and Some Violence
115 mins
English with no subtitles
Drama, Music
Brady Corbet
Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Stacy Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Raffey Cassidy
VOX LUX begins in 1999 when teenage sisters Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) and Eleanor (Stacy Martin) survive a seismic, violent tragedy. The sisters compose and perform a song about their experience, making something lovely and cathartic out of catastrophe — while also catapulting Celeste to stardom. By 2017, the now 31-year-old Celeste (Academy Award winner Natalie Portman) is mother to a teenage daughter of her own and struggling to navigate a career fraught with scandals when another act of terrifying violence demands her attention.
By Say Peng  28 Feb 2019
Headlined by an intense performance from Natalie Portman, 'Vox Lux' is utterly engrossing and spellbinding. 
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Natalie Portman is front and center in the promotional materials of actor-turned-filmmaker Brady Corbet’s sophomore feature ‘Vox Lux’, but she doesn’t appear until about an hour into the movie. The first part of the film concerns itself with the tragic childhood of pop star Celeste Montgomery. English actress Raffey Cassidy (‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’) plays young Celeste, who, in 1999, survived a mass shooting at her junior high school, recalling the Columbine high school shooting which also took place in 1999. The gunman shot Celeste’s teacher and classmates, including her, but Celeste miraculously survived a gunshot to the neck. At a memorial service, Celeste sings a song written by her and her sister, Eleanor, played by Stacy Martin (‘Nymphomaniac’). Overnight, Celeste became a national sensation.

The movie then fast forwards about two decades later when Celeste is thirty-one, this time played by Portman. Celeste is now an international megastar, a kind of Lady Gaga meets Madonna; flashy, over-the-top, and operatic. Martin continues to play Eleanor, and Cassidy now plays Celeste’s goth daughter, Albertine, a casting choice that will confuse audiences for a good five minutes. Celeste struggles with the demands of celebrity at the same time as she struggles with being a mother; an absent mother to her daughter, who is predominantly taken care of by Eleanor and the Manager.

As expected, Portman gives a great performance as adult Celeste, even if it does not match the same revelatory bravado she displayed in ‘Black Swan’. Performances from the rest of the cast are assured. The script, however, seems not quite sure what it wants to explore. Does it wish to probe the effects of personal trauma, the relationship between personal and national trauma, or the state of modern celebrity? The film spins many threads but does not investigate any of them in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, the film, with its intensely personal and stylish camerawork and its sizzling propulsive soundtrack, is utterly engrossing and spellbinding.
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