It is often funny that some years seem to feature many films with similar themes, plot points, or ideas. This year has been heavy with surprising starts for future pop stars. Both “A Star Is Born” and “Hearts Beat Loud” feature fun soundtracks with actors and actresses playing musicians. That will also be the case with “Vox Lux,” which showcases the rise of a pop star, played by Natalie Portman. However, the story takes darker turns early in its narrative, that reframes the conversation around Portman’s performance. Neon released the first trailer for the dark musical today, giving us a look at the Oscar-winning actress taking the stage.
Directed by Brady Corbet and distributed by Neon, “Vox Lux” follows pop star Celeste (Portman) over eighteen years. The story begins when Celeste (played by Raffey Cassidy as a younger girl), survives a national tragedy. She writes a song while in recovery and begins to take the world by storm. Now an adult and a mother herself, Celeste must handle her manager (Jude Law), adoring fans, fame, and PTSD.
“Vox Lux” certainly has some very interesting aspects at play. The actual subject matter seems challenging and pushes its characters to extremes. Portman looks like she is having a ball. She’s given the opportunity to play very big pop star moments and juxtapose that with quietly internal and emotional beats. Portman again showcases range, which should help her in the race for Oscar. Neon has pushed Portman into the Supporting Actress race, which one can justify given similar performances from Dev Patel in “Lion” or the Paul Dano push for “Love & Mercy” from a few seasons ago. Portman certainly has the talent and with a fairly open field, she might find herself rising in the Supporting Actress race.