Vox Lux, 2018

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A Dazzling Yet Dark Dive into Pop Stardom and Modern Malaise


Vox Lux,” directed by Brady Corbet and released in 2018, is a provocative drama that delves into the life of Celeste, a pop star whose rise to fame is marred by tragedy and personal struggles. The film is a scathing commentary on celebrity culture, the commodification of trauma, and the complexities of modern life. It serves as a compelling follow-up to Corbet’s debut film, “The Childhood of a Leader,” further establishing him as a director unafraid to tackle challenging themes.

Corbet’s Career and Positioning of the Film

Coming after his critically acclaimed debut, “The Childhood of a Leader,” “Vox Lux” solidifies Brady Corbet’s reputation as a filmmaker willing to explore the darker corners of the human psyche. The film is a departure from his first work in terms of subject matter but retains his signature style of storytelling, marked by psychological depth and thematic richness.

Thematic Complexity and Social Commentary

“Vox Lux” is a multi-layered narrative that delves into various themes, including the pitfalls of fame, the impact of trauma, and the moral ambiguities of modern society. Celeste, portrayed by Natalie Portman in her adult years, is both a product and a victim of a culture that often blurs the lines between entertainment and exploitation. Her journey from a survivor of a school shooting to a global pop sensation is fraught with ethical dilemmas and personal sacrifices, making her a complex and often polarizing figure.

Cinematic Choices

The film employs a unique narrative structure, divided into acts, each focusing on different phases of Celeste’s life. The cinematography and editing are deliberately jarring at times, reflecting the chaos and contradictions that define her existence. The soundtrack, composed by Scott Walker and featuring original songs by Sia, adds another layer of complexity to the film. It serves both as a commentary on the superficiality of pop music and as an emotional undercurrent that drives the narrative.

Reception and Legacy

“Vox Lux” received a polarized response upon its release. While some lauded its audacity and thematic depth, others found its approach too abrasive or its message too cynical. Regardless, the film has sparked numerous discussions and debates, particularly about its portrayal of fame and trauma in the age of social media. It has also received several nominations and awards, further cementing Corbet’s status as a filmmaker to watch.

Concluding Remarks

“Vox Lux” is a challenging film that demands the viewer’s engagement and contemplation. It serves as a mirror to a society obsessed with celebrity and spectacle, raising uncomfortable questions about our collective values and priorities. While it may not offer easy answers, it provides a compelling narrative that stays with you long after the credits roll. Brady Corbet has once again proven his ability to tackle complex themes with nuance and depth, making “Vox Lux” a must-watch for those interested in the intersection of pop culture and modern malaise.