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Parents' Guide to

Vox Lux

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Stark but glitzy music-industry drama has violence, sex.

Movie R 2018 112 minutes
Vox Lux Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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This drama set in the pop music world has plenty to say, but its delivery of its message doesn't quite work. Still, Portman's nervy performance and the movie's dazzling cinematography and haunting music make it worth a look. Written and directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Brady Corbet, Vox Lux is very much an anti-A Star Is Born; it shows the dark side of showbiz, wherein virtually nothing is sacred. The movie more or less places pop music side by side with brutal acts of terrorism. A gunshot wound kick-starts Celeste's career, and another violent attack launches her latest big show. But ultimately, when Celeste takes the stage in the movie's colorful final act, it's not entirely clear what the movie meant to say by all this.

In the movie's second half, Portman gets to rage, cajole, break down, get high, be indignant, be fabulous, and be a star so big that she claims to be the "new testament." She adopts a tough New York accent and lots of swagger. Corbet's camera smoothly glides behind her as she struts into some situations and staggers out of others; though darker, the style here is weirdly similar to that of A Star Is Born. The music by the moody genius Scott Walker, with pop songs written by the extremely talented Sia, crystallizes Vox Lux, making it sound serious and authentic. When it's over, you may not be sure what you've just seen, but you'll know you've definitely seen something.

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