Thursday, August 5, 2021

Annette Review: A Bizarre And Emotional Experience

Release date: August 6, 2021
Running time: 140 minutes
Starring: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard and Simon Healberg
Story and Music: Ron & Russell Mael of Sparks
Directed By: Leos Carax

Los Angeles, today. Henry (Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humor who falls in love with Ann (Marion Cotillard), a world-renowned opera singer. Under the spotlight, they form a passionate and glamorous couple. With the birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious little girl with an exceptional destiny, their lives are turned upside down. A film by visionary director Leos Carax (Holy Motors), with story & music by Ron & Russell Mael of Sparks, this original musical is a journey of love, passion & fame. 

Annette feels like a live action opera, for all the good and bad that comes with it.  The film focuses on intense emotions and overdramatic characters, to really emphasize what is happening on the stage.  Driver is his brooding Kylo Ren except with much more anger in his face and less pure rage.  And Simon Healberg gets a chance to stretch his dramatic chops and step away from his Big Bang Theory persona.  And Marion Cotillard is good as Ann, though the focus of this film is on Henry and the mysterious Annette.  And like an opera, the film has plenty of music, which was written by Sparks legends Ron and Russell Mael.  

But the film does have a lot of the quirks that come from being similar to an opera.  The movie has plenty of drama, to the detriment of much of the believability of the characters.  The songs are hit or miss and the comedy from the supposed comedian Henry just was not funny.  Driver puts in a great performance personifying this character, but in the end nothing caused me to chuckle.  But plenty did cause me to cringe, from some of the dramatic fights to the (most egregious), the strange puppet Annette.  I couldn't tell if this was an homage to how a stage baby in an opera would be, or if this was some other statement, but it was just off putting.  The film doesn't really come together until the very end, but by then it is far too late.  I enjoyed some aspects of this movie, but overall it felt like an over two hour indulgence into a passion and ego that is simply not for most to enjoy.  Maybe it was my mindset, but I expected to love Annette but simply was glad it was over.  

Annette is an ambitious project from some musical legends, but the strangeness of the story and long run time might make you think twice before setting sail on this adventure.

Pass on it.

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Annette is in theaters on August 6, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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