Annette (2021)
August 7, 2021 4:48 PM - Subscribe

A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift. Winner of the Best Director award at Cannes. The narrative feature-film debut of Sparks, who starred in a documentary earlier this summer.

New York Times: "While it belongs, more or less, to the durable genre of backstage musical, “Annette” aims to be something darker and stranger than another angsty melodrama about the entanglements of ambition and love. It has some modern opera in its DNA — a lurid strand of violence, madness and demonic passion that evokes pre-World War II Vienna or Berlin as much as classic Hollywood. Rather than bursting into song or breaking into dance at opportune moments, the characters stream their tormented consciousnesses through lyrics that are never as simple as they sound."

New Yorker: "...what ensues is a melodrama of such peculiar fervor that we somehow feel we ought to take it seriously; I kept smothering guilty laughs, as one does when reading the surtitles during productions of Puccini."

Vanity Fair: "It’s hard to resist the urge to explain Annette to the curious or confused with an admittedly dismissive refrain: “film is a visual medium!” Carax has taken the Sparks’ premise and exploded it onto screen with an energetic yet finely detailed visual score. The film is as tender and wrenching as it is bizarre and humorous, enthusiastically engaging in cinematic theatricality through Henry’s comedy sets, Ann’s operas, Annette’s own performances, and the intense melodrama of the family’s home life."
posted by pxe2000 (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Saw this one on Sunday (at a completely empty late-afternoon matinee screening) and am still processing the experience. I went in as both a huge Sparks fan and as someone who enjoyed Holy Motors, and came away awed by Carax's directorial flourishes, the performances of the cast, and the realization of the title character, but also emotionally gutted by the jet-black, unforgiving tone. It's like if Umbrellas of Cherbourg met Night of the Hunter met E.T. the Extraterrestrial, but without even the comfort of a happy-to-bittersweet ending.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:01 AM on August 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

I watched this at home since it's streaming as an "Amazon Original" and I am a longtime fan of Leos Carax. I'd read the New Yorker review before watching which made me doubtful and I wasn't totally sold until the end of the movie -- but this was great.

Carax always has the best music and this is no exception. I wasn't familiar with Sparks before this movie but I'm going to check them out.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:50 PM on August 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Mind-boggling film. Holy Motors flipped my lid a few years back and this is in the same class.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:25 PM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

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