Film Review – Annette

Annette (M)

Directed by: Leos Carax

Starring: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by Julian Wright

Be prepared to be put through the gamut of emotions and reactions with Annette.

Two successful entertainers, provocative stand-up comedian Henry (Adam Driver) and world renowned opera singer Ann (Marion Cotillard) experience a deeply passionate love affair together that suggests they will be bonded forever.

But when Henry’s star begins to dim due to some on-stage controversy while Ann’s continues to shine, attitudes and dynamics begin to shift, and when they have their first child, a gifted young girl, their lives take a dramatic turn.

This musical starts off as a dreamy romance built on tropes and cliches – it is in fact a tribute to classic musicals, just skewed to a modern audience. Had this been purely dialogue driven and in another director’s hands, it would have been a treacly bore to begin with.

But the way Leos Carax tells this story, which takes some surprising and unpredictable turns, is like nothing we have ever seen before; Annette is thrillingly originally packaged and yet at times frustratingly obscure. It is one of the most dream-like arthouse films that ever arthoused.

There are some truly baffling choices – Henry’s stand up is more like performance art that somehow sells out grand theatres and Ann is Hollywood royalty…and don’t even get me started on the marionette (which will make you weep!) And yet this is one of the most compelling cinematic experiences you will have this year, with the actors delivering some of the most committed performances you will see.

Annette is moving, baffling, distant, profound, tedious, exhilarating, confusing and enlightening – there is no emotion or reaction left unturned by the end. For those who crave something quirky and imaginative that will have you swooning in awe as you scratch your head, Annette is the perfect experience.

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