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Annette

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Mexico, USA

2021

2h 19m

Director Leos Carax

Starring Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Rila Fukushima

Genre Drama, Music, Romance

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A rock opera about the rise and fall of a celebrity couple — a stand-up comedian and an opera singer — and how their lives change after the birth of their first child. With a screenplay by Ron and Russell Mael of the Los Angeles pop duo Sparks.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

50

The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

Carax’s trademark bonkers magic elevates many of these scenes, to be sure. But there’s also a nagging naiveté, even a silliness to the storytelling that kept bumping me out of the sluggish drama.
83

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Sure, the carnivalesque twist of the final hour is a touch heavy-handed, and it’s not the only one. Yet as the movie settles into a quiet, somber finale, life and performance collapse into a single contorted mass and Annette becomes a metaphor for its own bumpy ride. Hovering on the brink of collapse, it’s a delicate dance between genius and fiasco, much like Henry himself.
40

Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

The ultimate problem with this flamboyant, yet oddly oppressive-feeling film is Carax’s bleakly Romantic world view – even working with exuberant wits like the Maels, he’s unavoidably committed to the dark abyss himself.
80

Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

It’s hard not to feel stirred, even moved, by the sheer improbable fact of this picture’s existence: Moment by moment, you’re held by its loony flights of lyricism and gorgeous images (shot by Caroline Champetier), and by the mix of sincerity, irony and Sondheimian dissonance that animates every sung-through line.
60

BBC by Nicholas Barber

It's kitsch at times and transcendent at others, but the delicate puppetry and the gonzo ambition will guarantee Annette a cult following.
80

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Annette is a forthright and declamatory and crazy spectacle, teetering over the cliff edge of its own nervous breakdown, demanding that we feel its pain, feel its pleasure and take it seriously.
40

Variety by Peter Debruge

In this particular cocktail, Carax is boiling lead to Sparks’ soda-pop fizz, sucking all the fun from the root-beer float. What does go well with the French auteur’s honesty-insisting earnestness is Adam Driver’s over-committed lead turn.
100

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

Carax has an unparalleled knack for constructing scenes that feel like vividly remembered dreams – some of the images here carry such a strange dual charge, by turns eerie and drily comic, that you find yourself wondering afterwards if they actually happened, or if your subconscious has been playing join-the-dots.
75

The Playlist by Rodrigo Perez

It’s an odd film and a fascinating one—narratively simplistic, artistically complex—at times ravishing and then puzzling, much like the enigmatic films of Carax and the idiosyncratic music of Sparks.

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