A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a 2-year-old daughter with a surprising gift.

Stream Annette

Warning: This Review Will Contain Some Spoilers

The torrid love affair between a comedian and opera singer leads to the birth of a very gifted child in . Henry McHenry () is a highly provocative stand-up comedian who is in a high-profile relationship with rising opera singer Ann Defrasnoux (). The couple quickly gets married and they soon have a baby daughter named Annette. However, as Henry becomes a stay-at-home father as Ann's opera success grows, cracks begin to form in their relationship, leading to an eventual blowout. Afterward, Annette begins to exhibit unique skills, Henry recruits the help of The Accompanist () the show Annette to the world.

Annette is a musical fantasy from French filmmaker Leos Carax (Holy Motors), based on a story by Ron and of the band Sparks, who also wrote the songs for the film. The film can be best described as a surreal rock opera about the relationship between stand-up comedian Henry and opera singer Ann, which is frequently the source of gossip. After the birth of their daughter Annette, portrayed for most of the film by a wooden marionette puppet, Henry begins to become disdainful of Ann's continued success, while his career in comedy begins to flounder. When a drunken confrontation leads to Ann's disappearance at sea, Annette seemingly inherits Ann's singing ability, which Henry decides to exploit for financial gain.

Annette was reportedly originally conceived by the band Sparks to be a concept album, before they decided to collaborate with Leos Carax, making his English language debut, to turn the idea into a film. The end result is a film where the songs are arguably better than the plot, starting off on a major high-note with the very upbeat fourth-wall-breaking opening musical number “So May We Start,” performed by Sparks with the lead cast members. While the film features some other memorable musical sequences, particularly the tongue-in-cheek ballad “We Love Each Other So Much,” which features Ann and Henry singing mid-coitus, it does seem that Annette struggles to catch up with the highs of its opening five minutes.

It might be because of the shoulder-length hairstyle Adam Driver sports for the first half of the film, the only film that I can compare Annette‘s very melodramatic plot with is Tommy Wiseau's The Room. While Annette is undoubtedly a film of higher quality than The Room, it also has a plot that is hard to watch with a straight face. While I'm sure some of the comedy in the film is intentional, the story is just played so straight and serious, despite it having a titular character that is literally a puppet, though even that can be explained as being a metaphor for the exploitation of children.

Annette was a film that saw Leos Carax return after a nearly decade-long hiatus and despite being both a fan of Sparks and Carax's previous film Holy Motors, I ultimately have to consider Annette to be somewhat of a disappointment.

Annette is now playing in select theatres and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, August 20, 2021

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Trailer for Annette

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.