Vox Lux review round-up: Natalie Portman is 'a powerful, haunting presence' in this 'grandly ambitious' satire

FP Staff

Sep 07, 2018 16:22:14 IST

In 2010, Natalie Portman opened the Venice Film Festival as a tormented ballerina in Black Swan - a role which earned her an Oscar. She is back this time with Vox Lux, as a brattish pop star with a troubled past.

Portman’s character, Celeste, played as a 14-year-old girl by Raffey Cassidy, has her life transformed by a school shooting that leaves her wounded and psychologically scarred. A song Celeste plays at a televised memorial for the dead propels her to fame, condemning the sweet young girl to grow up into an infantilised pop princess, managed by Jude Law.

Vox Lux review round-up: Natalie Portman is a powerful, haunting presence in this grandly ambitious satire

Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy on set of Vox Lux. Image via Facebook

Speaking ahead of its world premiere, Portman said Vox Lux was “a portrait and a reflection of our society and this sort of intersection of pop culture and violence and the spectacle that we equate between the two”. Writer-director Brady Corbet, who won prizes in Venice in 2015 for his debut The Childhood of a Leader, said Portman’s character was “really not designed to be a monster at all”.

With songs composed by Australian singer-songwriter Sia, Vox Lux is one of 21 films vying for the Golden Lion which will be awarded in Venice on 8 September.

Here's what the critics are saying:

Variety: "Powered in its second half by a riveting performance of fiercely mannered bravado by Natalie Portman, as a kamikaze electropop diva running her Faustian fame off and under the rails, Vox Lux paints a sharp, shellacked portrait of a ghost in the celebrity machine."

The Hollywood Reporter: "The joyous spectacle of Natalie Portman throwing weapons-grade bitch-queen tantrums is just one of the guilty pleasures in actor-turned-director Brady Corbet's stylish, original and ambitious second feature."

The Guardian: "A school shooting, a teen pop idol and Portman’s jaded diva raise questions about fame and notoriety in Brady Corbet’s social satire."

Screen Daily: "Vox Lux is so grandly ambitious, so unabashedly its own experience, that it’s impossible to dismiss despite its flaws."

IndieWire: "Vox Lux is a powerful, haunting film in part because Portman is a powerful, haunting presence — you can’t turn away from her, even if you occasionally want to...Vox Lux is intellectually charged spectacle, with one foot in the Euro-art tradition and the other ankle-deep in the pop zeitgeist."

(With inputs from Reuters)

Updated Date: Sep 07, 2018 16:24:38 IST

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