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Natalie Portman Is a Pop Star Trainwreck in the New Vox Lux Trailer

The Oscar winner goes full Gaga for her latest film.

Fame is a hell of a drug in the trippy new trailer for Natalie Portman’s Vox Lux. The film, directed by actor Brady Corbet (Funny Games), follows Celeste, a provocative pop star who battles addiction and past trauma as she struggles to stay relevant. She’s aided by her manager, played by Jude Law, and her daughter Albertine (Raffey Cassidy, who plays both a young Celeste and her daughter). The film features original songs and a score by Sia and Scott Walker.

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The film splits the narrative between Celeste’s teenage years and her adult life as a pop icon. Teenage Celeste and her sister Eleanor (Nymphomaniac‘s Stacy Martin) survive a horrific school shooting, and are discovered by Law after performing a song at the memorial service. Years later, Celeste is a huge star who struggles with alcoholism and the demons of her past.

Portman is styled as a Lady Gaga-esque pop star, with more glitter and sequins than an entire season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She also speaks with a Staten Island accent which, to be honest, sounds a little forced. Portman is a talented actor, and I’m hoping it will flow better in the film. Speaking of Gaga, the film will undoubtedly draw comparisons to A Star is Born, and may very well compete in the same categories come awards season. But while A Star is Born is mainstream fare, Vox Lux has an air of indie edginess to it.

Portman excels at playing women in the public eye with crumbling interior lives, as she did so ably in Jackie and in her Oscar-winning performance in Black Swan. And there’s plenty of material to explore in the toxic fame cycle that elevates pop starlets with one hand while ripping them to shreds with the other.

The film has received mostly positive reviews since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival. IndieWire’s Michael Nordine said, “Vox Lux is a powerful, haunting film in part because Portman is a powerful, haunting presence — you can’t turn away from her, even if you occasionally want to.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton said, “Even if Corbet’s grandiose ambitions sometimes get lost in tonal wobbles and pretentious flourishes, there is more than enough juicy material in this darkly glamorous postmodern fairy tale to score a left-field commercial hit.”

What do you think of the trailer for Vox Lux?

(via Collider, image: screengrab)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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