Annette ★★★½

Certainly not a movie for which I intend to trust my first response about any of it, in any direction, so the 3.5 is to be read as the minimum of a wide range of reactions that I'm still wading through. The parts that I loved, I adored, but they're all backloaded, not really starting until the title character shows up and not fully taking over until the ocean sequence that gives the film its (as it turns out, brutally ironic) poster. The parts I didn't get, I really didn't, mostly the film's utterly confounding relationship to stand-up comedy, which feels like the work of creators who definitely know they don't like something, but don't really have a reason why. I can easily imagine finding the film's vibe more readily now that I know what to expect; I can also imagine finding that the first hour really is just as scattered and haphazard as it seemed in the moment of watching it the first time. Either way, it's a profoundly cinematic thing, marshalling image, editing, and sound mixing to create an experience that feels entirely singular and obviously unlike even its most obvious precursors and touchstones. Plus, the final scene completely walloped me, and then it walloped me again, and movies that end on their best note are always nice to have around.

(Full review at Alternate Ending - I inevitably nudged it up to 4 stars. Will it make it up to 4.5 when I rewatch it? Who the hell knows)

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