It’s been a couple of weeks since I watched Annette and frankly I’m still processing. I’d love to be able to recommend it because it’s got music! And Academy-Award nominee Adam Driver! And Academy-Award winner Marion Cotillard!
If only it made sense (at least to the average person). Alas, Annette is just too odd to put into words. Maybe if I broke out into song instead. Nah. My head might ‘splode. Or my cat may turn into a singing marionette. Valid concerns if you’ve seen Annette.
No doubt this film will be divisive in its appeal. It premiered at Cannes, which seems appropriate for a film that has very arty sensibilities and evolves from a catchy overture about getting the show on the road (listen to “So May We Start” here), into a Shakespearean tragedy rock opera. Driver (who successfully crooned his way through “Being Alive” at the end of Marriage Story) is certainly on pitch as he sings and moans his way through songs about love and loss and obsession – on a motorcycle, on a stage, in bed. And we know Marion Cotillard (La Vie en rose) has pipes. But what does it all MEAN??? I do not know. Nor did I care.
Here’s the gist: Driver plays a provocative, outspoken stand-up comedian named Henry who falls in love with Ann, a world-renowned opera singer. They become the hottest celebrity couple goin’, get married, and have a baby Annette. She’s no ordinary baby though. She’s a mystery child (portrayed as a plastic doll or puppet or something) with a destiny all her own. Things go from weird to weirder. The end.
If it means anything to you that the film is from “visionary director” Leos Carax (Holy Motors), with story and music by Ron and Russell Maer of the band Sparks, then you can go to the head of the class and perhaps explain the film to the rest of us. It debuted in theaters August 6 and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on August 20.
Note: For more on Annette, as well as The Suicide Squad, Nine Days, and other offerings on the big and small screen — check out this edition of The Cinema Clash podcast!