Tagline: As dangerous, as intense, as love.
Genre: Drama, Romance, Music
Director: Leos Carax
Cast: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell, Ron Mael, Russell Mael, Christiane Tchouhan, Franziska Grohmann, Cindy Almouzni, Sinay Bavurhe, Rachel Mulowayi, Iman Europe, Danielle Withers, Lauren Evans, Natalie Mendoza, Kiko Mizuhara, Julia Bullock, Claron McFadden, Noémie Schellens, Angèle, Tyler Matteo, Kevin van Doorslaer, Verona Verbakel, Kanji Furutachi, Rila Fukushima, Laura Jansen, Eva van der Gucht, Dominique Dauwe, Wim Opbrouck, Leos Carax, Philippe Beyls, Nastya Golubeva Carax, Natalia Lafourcade, Bettina Meske, David E. Moore, John Paval, Lemuel Pitts, Colin Lainchbury-Brown, Kait Tenison, Rebecca Sjowall, Geoffrey Carey, Alberto Chromatico, Okon Ubanga Jones, Gabriela Leguizamo, Kamary Phillips, Aydogan Abay, Rebecca Dyson-Smith, Arvid Assarsson, Jeffrey Dowd, Graciela Maria, Clément Ducol, Richard McCowen, Michael Moore, Beatrice Reece, Eugene Stovall, Sarah Tsehaye, Fiora Cutler, Marina Bohlen, Elke Shari Van Den Broeck, Arina Yalaletdinova, Ella Leyers, Emmi Joutsi, Ai Nishina, Ayano
Runtime: 140Plot: The story of Henry, a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humour and Ann, a singer of international renown. In the spotlight, they are the perfect couple, healthy, happy, and glamourous. The birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny, will change their lives.
The story, as it were, concerns a brusque comedian, Henry (Driver) and an opera singer, Ann (Cotillard), who are having a passionate affair. The tall lanky Henry resembles a sullen Howard Stern and Ann a sort of hipper Cecilia Bartoli. Their coupling becomes, in the world of the Mael brothers, headline news. Their offspring, Annette, inherits her mother's voice from a very young age and takes the world by storm as the ultimate child prodigy.
None of this is to be taken all too seriously on a realistic. This is clearly old school rock opera territory (Tommy, The Wall) where brash visuals and extravagant displays of emotion rule. It all begins with great energy and Carax and cinematographer Caroline Champetier make Los Angeles a gleaming star of its own (it is a truism that outsiders like Carax and Champetier, both French, often look at the U.S. with fresher, less jaded, eyes). Unfortunately, Henry's stage act is so unfunny and far from entertaining, that you wonder if it's Carax and the Maels' attempt at irony (his stage persona is dubbed 'The Ape Of God'). The chemistry between Henry and Ann is purely physical, but even that romance doesn't amount for much. A few of the songs do work, but, others are just bland. They often seem written for the Sparks - and, not for Driver or Cotillard. Style does account for a lot here, and it's of such a peculiar sort, that even a puppet baby doesn't seem out of place. The movie never engages on anything more than a surface level. Driver and Cotillard do their best to invest their characters with something more than what's on the surface, but, to little avail.
ANNETTE is a bold attempt by Carax and the Sparks brothers to do something original and fresh; But, it's a case of ambition outstripping their ability to fully carry it off. Even more importantly, it wears the viewer out long before the 141 minute end mark.