Annette ★★★★½

One of my very favorite films of the year so far. There's a lot of fun to be had with ANNETTE in its musicality and performances. Leos Carax is fully aware of what he's doing and doesn't hide anything from the audience. He knows that this film narratively is trite. He understands the conflict is nothing new. Yet, in execution, you've never seen anything like this movie. He takes familiar ideas and reinvigorates them with new energy and insight. Everything from the production design, to the music and choreography, to the performances, and especially puppet Annette - it's all vitally important in making this singularly unique. What takes ANNETTE from good (and fun) to great for me, is its evolution of emotion (cue the eye rolls for those who know me). For the most part, the film is somewhat cold and distant emotionally speaking. Very intentionally so as it's about a couple who becomes bitter as Ann's career takes off and Henry's stalls out. However, there are little seeds of emotion planted here and there that thrive thanks to the sincerity in these performances. Henry may be an awful person, but a shot of him cuddling Annette in her crib is genuinely endearing. As a result, when the film nears its conclusion, there's an explosion of emotion that uppercuts you with remarkable effect. The final sequence between Henry and Annette is arguably the best scene of 2021 (so far). An astounding moment depicting the consequences of parental myopicness and the costs of exploitation on a child. It's heartbreaking in every way. And its potency relies on the film holding back as much as it can until the time was ripe.

We have a full deep dive on Episode 444 if you want to hear more. It's out now. Go check it out!

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