Jack Jankauskas’s review published on Letterboxd:
We've fashioned a world, a world
Built just for you
A tale of songs and fury
With no taboo
We'll sing and die for you
Yes in minor keys
And if you want us to kill too
We may agree
So may we start?
I won't lie, I only went into this wanting to see a good Adam Driver performance, but what I really got was so much more. I had no idea how experimental this film would be. After so many bland blockbusters this year this is exactly what I've been thirsting to see. It has no concern for operating within the confines of reality, and It's not at all you're usual musical where a character will randomly burst into a song in order to express themself. Here it's all continuous. It's a film that operates largely as an opera, where themes and emotions are heightened through repetitive and recurring lyrics constantly throughout the film.
The idea of dialogue fuctioning in the same fashion as music is a very histrionic form of storytelling. You don't see it much, but when done right it can be extremely poetic. To see a film like Annette use this idea as its driving force was a lot to take in, but my goodness did it pay off. From what I know The Umbrellas of Cherbourg functions in a similar fashion, so I guess you could say that this film was inspired by it. I am however yet to see The Umbrellas of Cherbourg so I'm obviously not in a position where I can compare their differences. But whatever the case, there is more to this film than just its remarkable operatic technique. It's the type of film that also relies heavily on the visuals. The titular Annette (the daughter) for example is a literal puppet. The film loves to experiment with visuals like this to communicate a lot of complex emotions. I will admit that the story is fairly standard as a result of this, where you have a loving man who—due to fame and glory—becomes a selfish man who takes advantage of his wife and daughter. But standard or not, it totally hits home.
This is the type of film that will no doubt polarize audiences. But it's different, it's weird, it's sincere, it's full of character, it's grand, and it's the type of film that died for the audience. That's something that should be valued.
Also here's an unpopular opinion for you. I like this more than La La Land.