Vox Lux

Rated 3.0

Brady Corbet writes and directs this intriguing but overreaching amalgam of showbiz satire, faux-documentary, epic soap opera and beard-stroking commentary about 21st century American society. The story opens in 1999, with Willem Dafoe narrating a documentary about Celeste Montgomery (Raffey Cassidy), a teenage girl who survives a Columbine-esque student massacre. Celeste and her sister Eleanor write and perform a song about the tragedy at a televised memorial, bringing them overnight fame and catapulting them into the arms of a music industry sleazebag played by Jude Law. The second half of the film is set in 2017, with an adult Celeste (Natalie Portman, going for it, unfortunately) now a shaky superstar with a teenage daughter (Cassidy again) and a new unspeakable tragedy to deal with. Vox Lux does not lack for complex ideas and lofty aspirations, but the human drama is muddled and the observations on contemporary culture are obvious and exploitative.