Why Do People Love the Troubled Rockstar in ‘A Star is Born’ but Hate the Troubled Rockstar in ‘Vox Lux’?

/Film | 12/13/2018 | Britt Hayes
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Why Do People Love the Troubled Rockstar in ‘A Star is Born’ but Hate the Troubled Rockstar in ‘Vox Lux’?

The story goes like this: A world-famous musician who can’t get out from under their traumatic past struggles with an addiction that threatens to destroy their relationships. Their narcissism and recklessness are crudely exacerbated by drugs and alcohol. They are perhaps only, as the narration might inform us, marginally talented, and yet they endure. That unnamable something – the “it” factor, that sparkle, that je ne sais quois – has kept their fans adoring long past a reasonable expiration date.

Description - Characters - Films - Year - Praise

That description could be attributed to prominent characters in two films released this year; while one of them has drawn near-consistent praise, the other has been criticized as being aggressively unlikable. The biggest difference between the two is, perhaps unsurprisingly, their gender.

The two films are, of course, A Star Is Born and Vox Lux. The performers, respectively: Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, an alcoholic rock musician on the verge of has-been status. And Natalie Portman as Celeste, a complex pop icon struggling with addiction and the indelible shadow that’s been cast by a past trauma. While critics (and audiences) fawn over Cooper’s leathery, gin-soaked downward spiral, Portman’s similarly flawed character is largely condemned as awful. Despite the actress’ stellar performance, many feel as though Celeste’s “despicable” behavior is a detriment to a film that is, by design, hard to love. The differences between the two films are as obvious as their similarities: One is a schmaltzy crowd-pleaser that’s a shoo-in for Oscar gold; the other is a deliberately abrasive indie that criticizes the society that spawns and enables pop icons like the one depicted in A Star Is Born – and the actual pop icon that portrays her.


To say that the discrepancy...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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