Annette ★★

This rocky (operatic) romance is unexpected and unpredictable, but a doze-worthy dud. Annette centres around a starry affair, soundtracked by Sparks’ songwriting skills and the film’s opening number with the main ensemble certainly had some promise. Driver and Cotillard engage in a rushed relationship and consummate their coupling (they go to town!) by exclaiming a sensual declaration in song. It’s a provocative scene for sure, but for the vast majority of the movie, Carax pushes his film’s peculiarities beyond what’s worth embracing.

Annette is a tale of bitter jealousy and celebrity culture, evolving into a film about an animatronic wooden doll who becomes a musical sensation. Did I mention that this film is unpredictable AF!?! However, the sheer stupidity of the doll embarking on a worldwide sellout tour had me temporarily crying for an encore.

The musical works when there’s audience/ensemble participation within the film. There is also one standout shot of a musical conductor, accompanied by a well placed voiceover and a rotating camera. These moments are minor though in a larger musical that is infuriatingly boring. The third act has a never-ending series of fades to black. Never have I been THIS fooled by an anticipated ending since Return of the King. Except the key difference here is that I actually wanted Annette to be put out of my misery.

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