Annette ★★★★

Annette is a battle between transcendental and mundane; a love story so pure that it floats above the earth before it’s burdened by the weight of reality. Ann and Henry, an opera singer and a comedian, love each other. They are at the height of their fame when their child, Annette, is born. Desperate and ever willing to shock, Henry sabotages his own career while Ann’s continues to rise, and in a moment of rage and jealousy, he acts against his better judgement.

Here, real feelings and consequences are filtered through artifice as the line between musical numbers and spoken dialogue disappears. In a world of fantasy, Henry is trying to survive. His wife haunts him, his child is a live reminder of his mistakes, and the only thing he can and knows how to do is hide in his fortress of fame. In the spotlight, he feels comfortable. In the spotlight, he is hidden from scrutiny and from questions of morality. Henry can be what the public needs him to be. He can bring laughter and tears, awe and rage, and in exchange, he can remain alive. But there is no freedom for him. He is a puppet in their hands, discarded when he isn’t needed anymore, and only love – in its purest, most disinterested form – can save him.

Annette places its characters in a dream that expands and expands until it collapses on itself. The memories it leaves behind are vague and only grow vaguer with time, but the feelings never wash away. Confusion becomes content, and in the end, there’s only acceptance and fulfillment. Peace.

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