Annette ★★★★

In the last twenty-five years, Denis Lavant and Leo Carax have done great things together. In the last ten years, Adam Driver and every director ever have done every thing ever together. 

While I like and even love some Lavant-Carax collaborations, I’m not a rabid fan. During some of Driver’s more grating Annette scenes, though-especially the stand-up comedy bits-I yearned for Lavant’s flexible, chameleonic nature. Driver has some of his most confrontational, Godzilla-like scenes here, harkening back to his character’s uglier moments in Girls

Driver has obvious talent, but he swallows scenes that have other things to offer. The Sparks songs aren’t always capital C Catchy, but they often linger in the mind, accompanying long walks to the beginning of the movie, or long journeys to emotional catharsis. Marillon Cotillard is excellent, but as sometimes happens with her roles, she becomes a punctuation mark in a male protagonist’s sentence. 

The titular Annette is a young, talented marionette of a child, and Simon Helberg’s role gains screen time in the second half of the film. Their melancholic vibrations are powerful, but can sometimes feel smothered by Driver’s outsized emotional outbursts. It was recently announced that Driver will once again pair with Scarlet Johansson, in Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of the great 80’s novel White Noise. Don Delillo’s book features a mysterious occurrence referred to as the Airborne Toxic Event. Adam Driver is an excellent actor, and he has sought out a variety of roles. He’s become so ubiquitous, though, that it feels like he’s in danger of becoming the recurring Airborne Toxic Masculinity Event…

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