Annette ★★

Annette is another rehash of Leos Carax's pointless effort to wrap drab ideas in the deceiving coating of arthouse tropes. It may not be as hopeless as Carax's god-awful Pola X, and it has Adam Driver's arguably career best performance to save the day, but all things considered it's just odd for odd's sake and not 140 minutes you would want to invest your time in.

The premise of a singing baby only works on paper, as demonstrated by the absolute dread of Annette. We follow the erratic yet somehow intriguing ways of Henry, an American standup comic, whose self-destructive ways only bring harm and death into his seemingly perfect life. Driver's poignant, arresting performance couldn't be praised more, as he serves as the only highlight of this otherwise incomprehensible, self-important mess, which is the same critique Holy Motors has received, only this time Carax's brought his self-indulgence to the highest heaven possible.

Annette, as a so-called musical, features subpar vocals that won't leave an impression and sometimes run too long. It may be unfair to compare the musical aspect of Annette to those Jacques Demy classics, but even compared to the likes of Dancer in the Dark, it pales greatly.

Overall Annette feels like an unhealthy mixture of far too many styles, tributes and metaphors, so much so that it ends up losing most of its intended messages. Other than as a perfect vessel for Driver to snatch his first ever Oscar, Annette just doesn't hit the mark for me. A huge disappointment. If you're looking for actual top-notch Carax, check out Lovers on the Bridge.

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