Jim Arnaud, a police officer in a Texas town, always tries to do the right thing, but he has more often than not done the wrong thing resulting in having a less than perfect life. He often tries to plan his actions whenever he can, but his impetuous nature and hot-temperedness often makes him do something else he didn’t plan, while he also does not have the best gauge of what is socially acceptable or what is standard social convention. In that imperfect life, he didn’t have the best relationship with his dancer/dance teacher mother, as didn’t his two siblings. He and his wife Ros have been separated for a year now on her initiative, which has resulted in him only seeing their now nine year old daughter Crystal on the weekends. And many of his fellow officers only tolerate him, including the police chief, with his married partner, Nate Lewis, looking out for him as much as he can do so. Two events have the potential to unravel Jim’s life even further. First, his mother passes away. He still wants to do right by her even after death, and by association wants even more to do right for Crystal in having that parent-offspring relationship he didn’t have with his mother. And second, Ros not only files for divorce, but in planning on moving out of town with her current boyfriend Chris, petitions for full custody of Crystal.—Huggo
Vox Lux follows the rise of Celeste from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop super stardom. The film spans 18 years and traces important cultural moments through her eyes, starting in 1999 and concluding in 2017. In 1999, teenage Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) survives a violent tragedy. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a burgeoning pop star with the help of her songwriter sister (Stacy Martin) and a talent manager (Jude Law). Celeste’s meteoric rise to fame and concurrent loss of innocence dovetails with a shattering terrorist attack on the nation, elevating the young powerhouse to a new kind of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar. By 2017, adult Celeste (Natalie Portman) is mounting a comeback after a scandalous incident that derailed her career. Touring in support of her sixth album, a compendium of sci-fi anthems entitled Vox Lux, the indomitable, foul-mouthed pop savior must overcome her personal and familial struggles to navigate motherhood, madness and monolithic fame in the Age of Terror. In Brady Corbet’s second feature, following his 2015 breakout debut The Childhood of a Leader – winner of the Best Director and Best Debut Film prizes at the Venice Film Festival – Celeste becomes a symbol of the cult of celebrity and the media machine in all its guts, grit and glory. Featuring original songs by Sia, an original score by Scott Walker, and a transcendent performance by Natalie Portman, personifying and pummeling the zeitgeist, Vox Lux is an origin story about the forces that shape us, as individuals, nations, and gods.