Annette ★★★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

opening film of the 34th Love & Anarchy film festival aka Helsinki International Film Festival 2021 (as well as this year's Cannes!)

was expecting a wonderfully weird and upbeat musical with crazy energy, but instead... well.... - to be fair, it's still sort of what I got..😅

*sort of spoilers ahead so stop reading if you want to go in without knowing anything*

the film is a loooot to take in in one sitting..
it's a 2,5hour meta-rock-opera that also feels like a parody of opera, but also a tragic love story filled with abuse of every kind, a darkly colorful musical written by brothers Ron & Russell Mael (also known as the American pop-rock band Sparks), a visually impressive epic, but also a film that takes critical note on modern idolization and obsession over famous people's lives, the role of media in (and exploitation of) that culture, the #metoo movement, cancel culture, the limits of stand up comedy & comedy in general, childhood stardom and deerlord knows what all else!!

the sets and costumes look very distinct and the color choices seem familiar from director Leos Carax's other works!
it is quite a glorious looking film to watch, but at the same time kinda irritating (at least for me).. and same goes for the songs! I'm sure big fans of Sparks will probably love every second of the music, but this got a little tiring after a while... and lasted for 2 hours more!

Adam Driver (who also produced the film) seemed to really enjoy the role of Henry McHenry and Marion Cotillard is mesmerizing as always.. but the real MVP here is Simon Helberg (of the Big Bang Theory fame), who is an absolute joy every time he's on screen (despite being a horrible conductor😅)!

the Baby Annette -nightmare fuel doll I could've lived without, though I do understand that a wooden doll was probably the best choice for the character, instead of casting an actual baby and using CGI to move the lips... though I'm still not sure which one was creepier, the doll or the real life Annette! (no offense to little Devyn McDowell! she did her best!)

overall I think this film ended up being exactly what it wanted to be and that is NOT everyone's cup of tea!😅
so a word of caution if you're planning on watching it.. but I am weirdly intrigued by the whole experience, though I was also kinda bored and rolled my eyes a lot during the movie..

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