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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Vox Lux

"Beautifully Crafted Work of Art"

Vox Lux completely broke my heart. That is a huge statement for me, as I don’t usually say that about films. I usually don’t. It is rare. I’ll say that a film disturbed me or emotionally numbed me but to say it broke my heart is something altogether different. It’s extremely specific. Nevertheless, Vox Lux did break my heart for many reasons. Reasons crafted beautifully by the sublime talent of everyone involved with this work of art.

Vox Lux starts in Staten Island NY in 1999. 14-year-old Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) has survived a violent tragedy and with her sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) makes a song that launches her to stardom. How this all unfolds takes up the first half of the film which I feel was the right way to go with material as sensitive as this. By the second half of the film, it is 2017 and Celeste is 31 years old (Natalie Portman) and has a 14-year-old daughter of her own. (Also played by Raffey Cassidy).

While the film itself is a masterpiece that exemplifies what our world has come to, the acting is what will most likely be the most critically acclaimed. Natalie Portman submerges like quicksand into her role as this shattered woman, whose sick and tired of pretending she’s ok. Her Staten Island accent is so addicting to listen to and she’s actually a phenomenal singer. I hope she keeps it up, as Vox Lux could very well be the start of something exciting and new for her.

Jude Law is remarkable as Celeste’s no-nonsense manager who has watched her grow up and knows her all too well. Something very comforting and yet very scary for someone in Celeste’s position to know.

Stacy Martin is devastating as Celeste’s motherly older sister. She and Celeste were so close growing up, and now there’s all this tension, pain and anguish. Celeste’s not the innocent child she used to be, and Eleanor is grieving the loss of the sister she once knew.

Raffey Cassidy is so superb in both roles, the fact she plays more than one is of no distraction to me. She literally sucks you into the film and forces you to care. She’s still a relatively new actress and Vox Lux is a big breakthrough for her. I’m sure we all are going to continue to see great things from her. I truly cannot sugarcoat the brutality and the disturbance of this film. I’m still in quite a state of shock, having just seen it. What’s truly amazing about Vox Lux is that there’s so much drama and yet, no one’s dramatizing anything. All the drama is the result of real people in this all too real world, suffering in the realist way imaginable: Acknowledgement. When you acknowledge everything’s not alright, there’s nowhere to run and Celeste has never been able to do that. She’s a casualty of her circumstances.

So many people will not be able to appreciate this film and that’s such a shame because the film industry has given us a film that’s completely of the moment and with actors who were all up for the challenge from the very beginning. "When you love something, you give it away," Celeste tells her daughter at one point in the film. VVox Lux is being given away and set free by being out in the world.

The world may not want a film like Vox Lux but it’s what we need right now and it’s what we have. Let us as audiences and people, run with it. I don’t just see Vox Lux as a film but an opportunity. You can watch anything on the news but film has always been able to touch us in ways anything else doesn’t. As soon as our world is crafted into another and displayed on a screen, conversations start. That right there is what cinematic perfection does when it flies at you from every direction. That is what happens when you take a risk, that is what happens when you care and that is what happens when you love.

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