Movie #91 2020: Vox Lux (2018)

Here we have a movie about Natalie Portman doing her best Drew Barrymore impression.

Okay, that’s a lie. But Portman’s voice sounds strangely Barrymore-esque in this movie. Also, this movie has a statement to make about child stars and the pressures of fame in our social climate, which is not dissimilar to Barrymore’s story.

Unfortunately – and frustratingly – Vox Lux somehow manages to miss the mark on fully realising the message that it is attempting to present us with.

Portman is predictably brilliant in this role, there’s no two ways about that. Although this is unlike any role she’s ever played before (with her performance in Black Swan being the closest, but still leagues away), and she absolutely nails it. Her accent, the emotion, the tone of her voice… it’s all there, and it’s all as amazing as always.

There are some decent directorial choices here too, from the rear shots of the main character and her daughter walking the streets of New York, to the way we see her grow up on screen whilst she slowly gets more and more depressed. But at the same time, there are some questionable choices too.

Firstly, they use the same actress (Raffey Cassidy) to play the younger version of the protagonist and the adult version’s daughter. I understand why they did it to a certain extent, and Cassidy is a very good young actor, but it was just ridiculous and distracting when it came down to the nitty gritty of it.

Although the movie tries to delve into a meaningful commentary on what fame can do to people, especially those who start from a young age, it falls short of really saying anything meaningful by the time the credits begin to roll. Instead, what starts off quite strong becomes a narcissistic mess, forcing its audience to not care about what happens to the pop star, even if that pop star is Natalie Portman. As a result, instead of garnering sympathy, we are met with a sense of apathy.

It’s just not that exciting as a movie, in short. Where they could have included more singing (not of the cheesy rom-com movie musical sort), they instead pull us unwillingly through a dreary, drab, tedious journey.

This movie is simply not worth your time, but it could provide you with some ideas if you’re a screenwriter in that you’d undoubtedly be able to make a better movie yourself with a few adjustments.

Vox Lux is available to stream on Netflix UK.

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