This film was previously reviewed in July 2021 as part of our Cannes Film Festival coverage.

Green and red. Leos Carax’s rock opera, Annette, features the self-proclaimed “Ape of God” Henry McHenry (Adam Driver) who is eternally surrounded by these colours. He cloaks himself in a green robe to complete his character as he performs on stage, representing the jealousy and rage he feels deep inside as his wife, Ann Defrasnoux (Marion Cotillard), a beloved opera singer, continues her upward success, while Henry’s career as an inflammatory stand-up comedian takes a nosedive after the birth of their child Annette.

Every song performed feels like its own short film; each scene unique and beautiful, but also extremely maddening in their own ways. Annette transports the viewer to a reality that seems like our own, but with a sense that something is not quite right, all of this carried through the impressive lighting techniques and set design. There are risks taken with the camera work and the visuals that make the film feel new and exciting, but this eventually gets exhausting by the end of its runtime. Although each scene could be a standalone masterpiece, it’s all tied together sloppily and with a pretentious bow.

This is a story about love, hate, revenge, and a puppet doll that ultimately serves as the film’s very on-the-nose metaphor, which perfectly sums up its incessant need to continuously prove how smart it is. This eventually alienates the viewer, rather than drawing them into the world that has been built.

Annette starts off strong yet slowly loses steam halfway through, regaining it only in the final crescendo thanks to Devyn McDowell as Annette. Unfortunately, this fantastic bookend is not enough to salvage the film as a whole. This is certainly not for everyone, but definitely worth seeing nonetheless.



CAST: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell

DIRECTOR: Leos Carax

WRITERS: Ron Mael, Russell Mael, Leos Carax

SYNOPSIS: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a daughter with a surprising gift.