Natalie Portman’s performance in Black Swan is considered to be among her all-time best — but now that position might be challenged by her work in Brady Corbet‘s upcoming pop-music thriller Vox Lux. One of the most raved-about titles coming out of the fall festival season, Portman’s portrayal of Celeste, a pop star born out of a tragic past, is the central focus of the official trailer recently released.
The film follows the rise to fame of a young Celeste (Raffey Cassidy), whose musical career is jumpstarted by a traumatic incident in 1999. Her career grows under the supervision of her manager (Jude Law), and she quickly rises to stardom. 31-year-old Celeste, played by Portman, is at her peak of fame and gradually spirals out of control under the constant weight of both public and private pressures.
Check out the trailer below:
It’s safe to say that this is a film where the less the audience knows going in, the better. The trailer emphasizes this, giving us a taste of what kind of tone to expect from the film without giving away very much information about the plot itself. The opening shot shows Celeste speaking to a journalist about her upcoming album and tour, of which she says, “It’s about rebirth.” This launches us into a series of shots featuring the sleek cinematography of Lol Crawley (45 Years), many of which feature Portman glammed up on stage, until we reach a shot of Law’s character arriving at a hotel room and Portman tumbling out, wasted.
If A Star is Born is a rags-to-riches tale about an overnight pop sensation and internal conflict, then Vox Lux is its darker twin sister. A character dealing with personal turmoil while in the spotlight is very much at play in this trailer, but it seems to reign in its focus on Celeste as a controversial figure. The character notes, “The way I’ve chosen to live my life goes against some people’s views on things.” She is shown losing patience with a fan wanting to take a photo, and her daughter expresses worry over her mother’s behavior.
The trailer culminates with its tension-building score and final glimpses of Celeste having a breakdown. It begs the question of what she has sacrificed about herself to become this figure. We are left with a sense of intrigue: who is this person who exudes confidence yet seems to be not at all at peace with herself? The trailer hints at the film’s dark, harsh interpretation of the extremely public world we live in today, and Corbet has the ingredients to make a powerful and unforgettable statement with Vox Lux.
We are given a decent amount of insight from the trailer as to the layered performance that Portman gives in the film, but of course, playing a pop star, she doesn’t only act in it. The film features several original songs written by Sia that are performed by Portman, although we unfortunately don’t get to hear them in the trailer. Nonetheless, this will likely be considered a career-best performance for Portman, as some critics have already suggested, and the campaign has already begun for a Best Supporting Actress nod. It’s already been a great year for Portman, and it looks like it’s about to get even better.
Vox Lux hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 7th followed by a nationwide release on December 14th.