ANNETTE – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This is a two-hour and twenty-minute film where, like an opera, the dialogue is often sung. Think along the lines of the film version of Les Misérables. Unfortunately for Annette, there aren’t any catchy tunes that you will leave the theater humming. Also, did I mention the wooden puppet child? I liked it at first, but then again, I loved the stage production of War Horse. Even if you can get past the use of puppetry cast as the child for the majority of the film, there is so much more in this movie to get mired down in.
Annette is set in current day Los Angeles. Henry (Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humor along the lines of a young Dane Cook. Henry falls in love with Ann (Marion Cotillard), a world-renowned opera singer. Under the spotlight of the ever-present paparazzi, they form a passionate and glamorous couple. They marry as both keep climbing the ladder of success, with Ann leading the way. The birth of their first child, Annette, changes everything. Henry loses his comedy mojo while Ann keeps going farther up the superstar ladder. This puts a considerable strain on the relationship with disastrous results. Annette is a mysterious little girl with an exceptional destiny that turns all their lives upside down.
This film is by visionary French director Leos Carax of 2012’s amazing film Holy Motors, with story and music by Ron and Russell Mael. The two men are known as the avant-garde music group Sparks. Carax and Sparks chose to make an original musical about a journey of love, passion, and fame. I think this team looked great on paper, but something got lost in the execution. Or perhaps this team is too full of super “hip, not commercial” dudes, and I just didn’t get the snarky inside jokes. It’s too bad, really, because I am part of the audience they were shooting for. The group of arthouse aficionado, musical-loving, old movie reference nerds waiting with excitement for the release of this film. After seeing this terribly long film, I felt let down and left out of the punch line for the joke.
I give Annette a 2.5-star rating. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen and perhaps it will find a cult following audience somewhere.
Directed by: Leos Carax
Written by: Rone Mael, Russell Mael
Selig Rating: 2.5 Stars
Running Time: 2hr 20min
Limited Theatrical Release: Aug 6th in theaters, August 20th on Prime Video
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Adam Driver, Simon Helberg
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.