Annette (2021). Annette: Directed by Leos Carax. With Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell. A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift.
“u0026quot;Annetteu0026quot; is not a conventional film musical, instead seeming like something youu0026#39;d see in a black box theater with a small cast playing multiple roles and some not-quite-avant-garde staging.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe visual style crossfades between mundane, (nighttime motorcycle rides, the same winking lights of Los Angeles seen from the foothills of so many films), magical realism (opera stages that become moonlit glades), and abstract. Intentionally absurdist TMZ-style segments introduce new phases of the story.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe music is repetitive and wan, with Adam Driver producing many of the same thin, scratchy falsetto sounds as Hugh Jackman in u0026quot;Les Misu0026quot; Marion Cotillard alternately signing for herself and obviously dubbed.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe vocal lines often remind me of sections of Sondheim, when he uses quasi-tonal, wan phrasing such as in the song u0026quot;Barcelona.u0026quot; He uses it much more sparingly than this score, which seldom builds into much melody. This, of course, could be intentional. The important repeated bit of song u0026quot;we love each other so muchu0026quot; might actually be intended to ironically suggest desperation and insufficiency in the emotion.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe story is simple and deals with cardboard cutouts of characters, by design– which is why Annette herself is so strangely effective.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is her film, after all, though Driveru0026#39;s Henry McHenry– an edgy, self-loathing standup comedian– is the central focus, really.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSimon Helberg– somewhat reprising his accompanist role from u0026quot;Florence Foster Jenkinsu0026quot; has some of the more interesting moments of acting, and is the subject of a particularly bravura circular tracking shot thatu0026#39;s the real filmmaking highlight of the latter part of the film.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAll in all, an impressive, if bewildering, fever dream of film that is not the sum of its parts, and doesnu0026#39;t add up to much, but will enchant you with its visuals and haunt you with its oversimplified plainsong.”