Annette Hits A Sour Note

This film is a love story with music. This by no means is a romantic film. It is the story of Henry (Adam Driver) and Ann (Marion Cotillard). How they met, fell in love, got married, and had Annette. Initially, I had thought that it was a rock opera, but no. Henry McHenry is a provocation comic. His performance is without humor, but he sings about the expectations of the audience. How they come to see him and expect to be made to laugh. The impression given is that Henry is bored of being the comic with an audience always wanting him as their performing monkey.

Henry’s love of his life is Ann, who is an Opera Singer. Her audience worships her every performance. The Diva is constantly fawned over, loved. Their whirlwind love affair culminates at the birth of Annette. After the child is born, Henry is the stay-at-home father, his career wanes, and his ego is starved for attention. Ann returns to the stage and her accolades.

It doesn’t take long for Henry to become bitter as he finally returns to the stage is Vegas. It is not a successful appearance, the audience booed at the content he chose to address. Ann feels that something is not right with her husband. He is drinking so much; she worries that something could happen to him. Annette has been presented as an accessory instead of their child. The storyline is still all about Henry and Ann.

The gossip is that they are going on their yacht for a cruise as a last-ditch effort to reconcile their marriage since six women accused Henry of domestic violence. We see the boat on very stormy seas. Ann and Henry are above deck while Annette is in bed. Speaking of the child, she is presented as a marionette, being carted about. She barely speaks until nearly the end.

I went with no expectations, it has Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, and Simon Helberg as the Conductor. It had two wins at Cannes: Best Director, Best Soundtrack as well as a nomination for the Palme d’Or. Upon reflection of the film, it might be too obtuse for the average viewer.

It feels like a disconnected art house film. The music is expected to be a conduit in the theme, but the lyrical repetition is quite overused. The songs could have fleshed out the story background, but it was not. The story could have been created to be like a Greek tragedy, the script was missing depth in the sadness. It felt more like empty wallowing. I did not enjoy the movie past the initial opening sequence. High hopes but dashed to bits. Pass unless a die-hard Adam Driver fan.

1.5 stars out of 5