Maxwell Alexander’s review published on Letterboxd:
I can admit that Leos Carax is an acquired taste as an artist and a filmmaker. But even I cannot defend all of the choices he makes in this movie because to put it plainly I don't understand "Annette" entirely. This is a film that will polarize everyone who watches it because it is simply too weird for most. In fact, you'd have to be a complete lunatic to like this movie. As it would so happen I am that kind of lunatic who had a good time with this movie.
Ron and Russell Mael of the music group "Sparks" wanted to create "Annette" as a concept album that could be performed theatrically. After watching "The Sparks Brothers" earlier this year I have an understanding as to how odd this duo is and know that it probably would've been wonderful. It centers around a comedian and an opera singer who through their love have a puppet baby with amazing gifts. As an album it would be fun but never would I think to make this concept a movie. Thankfully, they got in touch with Carax who has a visual eye that melds well with "Sparks" off the wall idea.
From it's opening moments you can see clearly why Leos Carax won Best Director at Cannes Film Festival because this is a visual treat. His surreal approach to filmmaking makes this movie feel like a fever dream. It felt like it would be paired well with "Dancer in the Dark" as a musical that deconstructs everything you've come to expect. While I don't think the movie as a whole completely works I think it's a fantastic experience.
Adam Driver doesn't disappoint and continues to be my favorite working actor right now. He isn't known for his singing ability but works well with the music "Sparks" has provided him. He has such chemistry with Marion Cotillard who is equally as hypnotic in her role. They both embrace the strangeness of the film.
I don't know why Amazon Prime jumped at this film for their streaming service. I saw the trailer and now know they have no idea how to sell it. I'm excited to see the reactions to it in the coming weeks.