Annette: Film Review

Annette

Courtesy of MUBI

Brace yourselves folks, you haven’t seen anything like Annette, for better or worse.

Leos Carax‘s English-language debut, a musical with Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks, stars Adam Driver as stand-up comedian Henry McHenry, who embarks on a whirlwind romance with renowned opera singer Ann Defrasnoux (Marion Cotillard). They get married and have a daughter named Annette, portrayed by a wooden marionette puppet, who has her mother’s gift. Henry becomes jealous of their talent and success as his career takes a downturn, with devastating consequences.

Annette is not your conventional movie musical, oh no. It is experimental, wild, weird and absolutely mad. Carax makes some bold and brave filmmaking choices that won’t be for everyone. It certainly wasn’t my cup of tea. I admired and respected it more than actually enjoying it. The film is way too long and I just struggled to get into it given how bonkers it was but I did ultimately come to like the story following Henry’s career downfall. I never really got past the whole “it’s a puppet” element but I thought the craftmanship of Annette was really impressive and she moved in a creepy life-like way.

The meta introductory song, So May We Start, was very good and super catchy so I had high hopes for the tunes and these were disappointing. They failed to make an impact because the majority of them sounded the same and were so meh and forgettable and I found Driver’s singing voice rather grating after a while. I think I would have liked the film more if it wasn’t a musical, which is something I never thought a musicals lover like me would ever say.

This film is Driver’s show and he gives a stunning performance as Henry. He really throws himself into the batshit craziness of it all and has a commanding, captivating presence. Henry ruins his success and comes to resent his family and descends into madness, with his onstage meltdown being particularly uncomfortable to watch.

Cotillard’s character isn’t well fleshed out, she is almost like Henry’s glossy vision of Ann rather than the actual person but the French actress was perfectly cast in the role and convinced as an opera singer. Out of all the cast members, I really hope Simon Helberg – best known for playing Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory – receives some awards attention for his supporting role in this film. He plays a very different character and did a lot with the handful of scenes he was in. There is one scene in which he talks to the camera while conducting an orchestra and the level of emotion he commanded while convincingly conducting at the same time was just astounding. That is my favourite scene in the film and it is solid proof that Helberg is capable of so much more than he has been able to showcase thus far in his career.

Carax make some big swings with Annette and the result is a over-long oddball piece that is all over the place. Many people dig it, many people (myself included) don’t.

In cinemas from Friday 3rd September

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

My Christopher Nolan top five

Christopher Nolan‘s latest effort Dunkirk comes out on Friday and while I’m in the minority of people who didn’t love it (read my review here), it certainly makes my top five.

[Read more…]

It’s Only the End of the World: Film Review

world

I was a fan of Xavier Dolan‘s previous film Mommy and I love Lea Seydoux and Marion Cotillard so I’m glad they’ve got together to make a film, it’s just a shame I didn’t enjoy It’s Only the End of the World as much as I hoped.

[Read more…]

Allied: Film Review

allied

I was keen to see Allied because I love Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt so a film with them both seemed like a dream. Allied not only had their star power but director Robert Zemeckis behind the camera and Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises) as a writer, so you would think it would be awesome, but it was simply average.

[Read more…]

Top Films for November

It’s November which means the awards season films are slowly creeping in – but never fear, there’s plenty of blockbuster fare to enjoy too. So here’s my top picks:

[Read more…]

It’s Only The End of the World: LFF Film Review

only

I was a fan of Xavier Dolan‘s previous film Mommy and I love Lea Seydoux and Marion Cotillard so I’m glad they’ve got together to make a film, it’s just a shame I didn’t enjoy It’s Only the End of the World as much as I hoped.

[Read more…]

Lea Seydoux and Marion Cotillard rock maternity style at It’s Only the End of the World premiere

Grant, Seydoux, Dolan & Cotillard

Grant, Seydoux, Dolan & Cotillard

My two premiere day ended with the French drama It’s Only the End of the World, the latest film by Canadian director Xavier Dolan. I’m a big fan of his work and his actresses Lea Seydoux and Marion Cotillard so I was very excited for this one!

[Read more…]

Macbeth: Film Review

mac1

I know William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a dark and depressing tragedy in itself, but Justin Kurzel’s version is even bleaker than I expected and it is a lot of hard work. However, it is all worth it due to the incredible performances by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

[Read more…]

Cannes Film Festival Round-up: What to see?

cannes1

The Cannes Film Festival is over for another year, so to say farewell, here is my rundown of films that I want to see immediately thanks to the buzz they received in France. Some have secured cinema distribution deals so us mortals who weren’t lucky enough to be in Cannes will be able to see them within the next year (which is still far too long away!)

[Read more…]

Critics’ Choice Awards 2015: Best & Worst Dressed

yes6

Awards season is seriously getting into full swing so the stars (actresses in particular) must have a tough job making consistently good fashion choices when they are at red carpets all the time. It will be interesting to see if my front-runners currently will be as strong towards the end.

[Read more…]