Leos Carax nabbed the Best Director prize at Cannes for this dark musical confection, based on a script by the brothers Mael—better known as the musical group Sparks—that looks at the price celebrity exacts on the celebrated. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard star as, respectively, Henry McHenry, a famously scabrous stand-up comedian, and Ann Defrasnoux, a renowned soprano, whose relationship is tabloid catnip. When they have a child, Annette (which is actually a puppet…), and tragedy strikes, McHenry sees a way to monetise his offspring… The music of Sparks soars and the direction by Carax is what we’ve come to expect from him—surprising, inventive, restless—making this a bold sui generis triumph.
‘It’s hard to imagine any director other than the reliably unruly Leos Carax having the chutzpah to pull off such an audaciously bonkers project without postmodern mockery or sneering cynicism. Yes, “Annette” is an extravagantly ridiculous affair, a pop opera (like Ken Russell’s “Tommy”, with a touch of Julien Temple’s “The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle”), shot through with the wry humour that has always characterised the Mael brothers’ music. Yet at the heart of its swirling strangeness lies something of real truth and beauty that left me unexpectedly crying…’—Mark Kermode, The Guardian