Annette ★★½

In one of the early scenes of Annette, Adam Driver's dark, stand-up comic character does a bit of his show where he deconstructs the concept of comedy as a performance as well as the act of laughing. As he does so, he breaks into intense song from near silence, as the lights contribute with dramatic emphasis on what he says. It is impossible not to recall one of the Bo Burnham shows (though I can't remember which one). In much of his later output I've been somewhat frustrated with Bo, as he keeps coming back to this motif of "I don't have anything new to say, and that's bad, but I'm aware that I don't have anything new to say, and that's good (or even worse)". In Annette, after this overt reference, I had the same feeling about the film. It is relatively uninteresting and it is aware of it. Furthermore, the film mocks itself in the same way it parodies several forms of media from celebrity tabloid news to opera. Whenever it feels sloppy it seems to nod and wink at its audience as if it should be written off as an inside joke.

It has it's genuinely hilarious, gripping, and profound moments, but over the two hours and twenty minute runtime these are heavily watered out. For me, there is just too little of interest to engage with here. If I were somewhat more aligned with Carax' vision, I think I'd be willing to try a little harder, but unfortunately, as it stands, it leaves me empty.


The most interesting thing about this film is the fact that Marion plays Ann, and the titular Annette is played by a marionette.

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