Jonny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Annette is a lot. I enjoyed it but there is no denying that it is a mess.
For a musical, the music is unbelievably forgettable. Imagine all the sing talking in The Umbrella's of Cherbourg without any of the chill inducing crescendos (although I did like one small scene where the big bang theory guy was conducting). That being said having musical numbers in films automatically sends a message to the audience that the film is in some fantastical reality where everything is heightened. Because of that I honestly don't think the best parts of the film would have worked as well if it wasn't in the context of a musical.
It is also has a screenplay that is so jarring and fragmented and has almost no subtly to be found. The characters are all surface level and rarely is there ever an opportunity to sympathize with them. On top of that the films overstays it's welcome.
All that being said Carax absolutely directs the living shit out of this film. His directing paired with Adam Driver's acting completely take the absurdness and brashness of the script and turn it into a spectacle.
The mise-en-scène is fantastic, the cinematography is gorgeous, every scene is massive and bombastic. Adam Driver smartly over-acts as subtlety in this would be misplaced. He can't sing very well, which is another issue but honestly I don't think many people could have sold the songs in this film.
On paper the film shouldn't work but by making it so over the top Carax brings it to life in the only way it would have ever had a chance, mess and all and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it.
Still the flaws of Annette are so mixed in to it's strengths that its hard to really say if it's a great movie or not. All I will advise is that you go into this expecting a mess. That doesn't forgive all of the film's shortcomings but it's probably the way to get the most out of it. At the very least it's not like any film you will have seen before.