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Vox Lux review round-up: Natalie Portman is ‘a powerful, haunting presence’ in this ‘grandly ambitious’ satire

In 2010, Natalie Portman opened the Venice Film Festival as a tormented ballerina in Black Swan – a role which earned her an Oscar. She is back this time with Vox Lux, as a brattish pop star with a troubled past. Portman’s character, Celeste, played as a 14-year-old girl by Raffey Cassidy, has her life transformed by a school shooting that leaves her wounded and psychologically scarred. A song Celeste plays at a televised memorial for the dead propels her to fame, condemning the sweet young girl to grow up into an infantilised pop princess, managed by Jude Law.

Speaking ahead of its world premiere, Portman said Vox Lux was “a portrait and a reflection of our society and this sort of intersection of pop culture and violence and the spectacle that we equate between the two”. Writer-director Brady Corbet, who won prizes in Venice in 2015 for his debut The Childhood of a Leader, said Portman’s character was “really not designed to be a monster at all”. With songs composed by Australian singer-songwriter Sia, Vox Lux is one of 21 films vying for the Golden Lion which will be awarded in Venice on 8 September.

Glass is scheduled to release in North American theaters on 18 January, 2019.


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