Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Leos Carax is an Amazon Original film about relationships, destruction and caught in the middle is ANNETTE.

Henry McKenry (Adam Driver) is a sarcastic performance comedian who has fallen in love with the beautiful opera singer Ann Defrasnoux (Marion Cotillard). This is a news sensation as the two enough the heights of their careers. Professing their love to one another, they welcome a baby daughter named Annette.

It seems Henry has a dark side, and it begins to become even darker when he cannot deal with Ann’s fame and the life of a new father. Deciding to get away for time on their boat, their lives change so dramatically that Henry goes even further down the destructive rabbit hole. Giving Annette a gift, Henry discovers that his young daughter has a stunning talent.

Helping Henry and Annette is the Conductor (Simon Helberg) as the world soon discovers the music as well. As the young girls’ father moves emotionally away, Annette (Devyn McDowell) finds herself speaking her truth and coming to terms with the fact that adults can be so destructive.

Driver as Henry has the opportunity to showcase his dark comedy and vocals as a character who is destructive from beginning to end. As Henry faces his emotions, the rift in his life becomes bigger and bigger until every move he makes is towards an endless pit. The continual sullenness is a character Drive is able to pull off and make it totally believable and with this role viewers have the benefit of music to tell his side of it all.

Cotillard as Ann is a soprano that captivates her audiences with the characters she plays. Finding love with Henry gives her a happiness that extends to the birth of their daughter Annette. The audience experiences her vocals filled with longing, sadness and, in a few performances, death. Cotillard’s character experiences those same true emotions in life with her husband. There are lovely moments with Annette, but they are too few and far between in her young life.

Helberg as Conductor has his own part to play in the story of Henry and Ann and there comes a time when he shares it all causing unchangeable havoc.

McDowell as Annette is absolutely and extraordinarily stunning as the young daughter of two artists. What is true of her life is that both of her parents are selfish, narcissistic and are focused on what will make them happy. There finally comes a moment where she is able to share her feelings and I am riveted from the first moment she speaks until the last. Her voice is angelic, harsh, emotion filled and angry with each of these emotions totally justified and full of truth. Wonderfully done young lady!

Other cast include Angele, Kiko Mizuhara, Natalie Mendoza as Accusers Chorus, Rila Fukishima and Laura Jansen as Nurses, Nastaya Carax as Nastaya, Leos Carax as Leos Carax and Kanji Furutachi as Doctor.

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

ANNETTE is a musical about two artists who loved one another but once the sparkle has worn off and real life sets in, neither seems to know what to do with it. Henry is a self-indulgent who is happy being unhappy and Ann seems to blithely allow his behaviors – even when Annette arrives.

I wanted to feel something for these characters, but I just could not, instead I was a mental advocate for Annette from the moment of conception. Driver’s portrayal of a “comic” did not do much for me in the slightest. It was almost like watching Leia and Hans’s son try to be funny so we would all forget that he loves evil at heart.

Cotillard’s portrayal seemed that of a woman who loved being in love because the characters she consistently performed as on stage did not seem to have much happiness in their life. What an awakening when she realizes art imitated life! Other than her stage performances, I also was not invested in her character. I give both actors props for doing their own vocals.

Annette starts out as an oddity in the life of these two so-called adults and watching the pain through her eyes, it becomes easy to see how she is portrayed. It is in the final scene with Driver that I am thrilled with how strong the young girl’s character turned out to be in spite of the adults that surrounded her.

ANNETTE is an interesting bit of watching to say the least and, if one is so inclined to delve into the two hour and twenty-minute rock opera, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts dear readers.



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.