Watching the musical Annette can evoke disappointing comments. For example, my adult daughter asked, “What the ___ was that?” My husband was kinder. “Well, I did like the mysterious little girl at the end,” he explained. And the only thing running through my brain right after seeing this unusual movie was “a musical without dancing is like a bird without wings.”
So, movie musical fans, please beware. Annette is not a musical comedy. In fact, it’s a musical tragedy. And, Adam Driver (Marriage Story) fans, prepare yourself to see him as a human monster. Of course, we know he can do anything. And his deep voice almost hypnotizes us. For Marion Cotillard fans, don’t expect an Oscar performance like her Edith Piaf turn in La Vie en Rose. However, she looks gorgeous and believable in this co-starring role.
So much in love two people are.
Stand-up comic and opera star.
They’re as different as can be.
Will their love last eternally?
Changes come with baby Annette.
Stand-up comic begins to fret.
Opera star is worried too.
Handling hubby, what shall she do?
This musical turns tragically
and loses viewers sad like me.
We miss dancers and comedy.
“Annette,” the film, seems too fun free.
To be fair, some musicals can get by without dance. Examples would be Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables. But it takes a strong story and great music score to pass muster. While Annette contains some relatively exciting group movement scenes, the film lacks energy needed to give the audience a feeling of exuberance. With the exception of early love scenes at the beginning of this movie, it’s down in the dumps most of the time.
Annette also suffers from too many fuzzy scenes. That may be an artistic decision by a cinematographer wanting to match the darkness of the film’s general tone. But it’s annoying.
And the music? Haunting opera singing ends up being the most impressive music heard here. The “We Love Each Other So Much” duets with Driver and Cotillard would be next. But too many repetitive lyrics are hard to take.
The most talked about part of Annette involves Driver’s outrageous stand-up comic act. As in this excellent actor’s previous films, he puts his all into this gig that gets nastier as the movie unfolds. It’s not a pretty sight.
One of Annette‘s highlights is the little girl mentioned by my husband. She’s played by darling Devyn McDowell. At the end of the film, she (as Annette) meets with her father in prison and steals the show.
(Released by Amazon Studios and rated “R” by MPAA. Available on Amazon Prime.)
Director: Leos Carax
Writers: Ron Mael and Russell Mael
Music: Ron Mael and Russell Mael