Vox Lux was the final movie I saw at HIFF. The beginning of the movie was super emotional to me, as I’ve had personal experiences with school shootings, losing friends at a young age, and having to learn to walk again. I felt like I very much related with the main character, Celeste. Obviously, I did not get fame out of any of my experiences (as I cannot sing), but there was still a connection that instantly made me more interested than I already was (which was quite a lot).
This film did a wonderful job of catching the audience’s attention right from the suspenseful beginning. The energy of the movie definitely took a turn from the first impression, but was still interesting nonetheless. During one of the scenes early in the film where Celeste is in the hospital, she tells her sister, Eleanor, that she thinks she’s done something terrible. It then cuts to a completely different scene, leaving her comment unexplained. This stays in the back of my mind during the whole movie, searching for an answer. I was not completely distracted though, as the editing style had me completely captivated. There were many scenes of overlayed shots that were sped up, which were so aesthetically pleasing. The lighting and colors were so mesmerizing throughout the entire film. I especially enjoyed the scenes at the end that made the audience feel like they were watching real concert footage. During the concert sequence, the narrator finally makes a connection back to what Celeste had done years ago (that she mentioned to her sister), which turned out to be quite shocking to me, but also helped explain Celeste’s sudden change in character.
I appreciated the artistic visuals of the film, but I felt like the storyline was a little hard to follow as the narrator explained large periods of time using an unnecessarily high vocabulary with a fancy accent. Another issue for me, that may be considered a little petty, was that the actress that played Celeste, Raffey Cassidy, was clearly not from the United States and was pretty bad at maintaining an American accent. It was very distracting. Also when the actress for young Celeste was switched out for Natalie Portman as adult Celeste, they continued to use Cassidy as Celeste’s daughter, which was a little confusing at first. I tried to keep in mind that there may not have been a big enough budget to find another actor for that role though. Overall, I gave the film a ⅘ on the voting ballot at the end, but I think that I would enjoy the film more during a second viewing.