This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Honest confession – I struggle with Western musicals because they have too much music in them. Which seems like a ridiculous complaint given that my first love is Bollywood. Song-and-dance is embedded in my DNA. The difference is that in Western musicals, songs are often sung dialogue and the wall-to-wall musicality becomes a slog. Case in point – Les Miserables, which won three Oscars including Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway – but left me cold. So it was with some trepidation that I went into Leos Carax’s Annette.

Annette, like La La Land, A Star Is Born or closer to home, Abhimaan, is a showbiz love story. Henry, a performance artist, and Ann, an operatic soprano, form a swoony, dazzling bond. They share a deep emotional rapport and sexual bliss – in one of the film’s most talked about scenes, Henry sings mid-cunnilingus. At one point, arm in arm, they declare in song and without irony – we love each other so much. But Henry’s feelings for Ann are twisted by a toxic mix of entitlement, self-loathing, aggression and perhaps jealousy that becomes more acute as she becomes more successful. Though that is too simplistic an explanation for what transpires between them.


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