Fifth about The Seventh

Annette (2021)

Annette: the story told by Leos Carax in this film doesn’t necessarily call for a musical, so this crucial choice on how to tell it is the main responsible for why this is such a delirious experience. The story, about the ups and downs of the relationship between two wildly differing celebrities, goes in constantly unexpected directions with unusual aesthetic choices (but appropriately symbolic). Marion Cotillard and, in particular, Adam Driver jump in head first in their roles, respectively an opera singer and a stand-up comedian. Driver’s character goes through a more complex arch, and he hits all the emotional notes; his singing, which is almost wall-to-wall, is merely adequate. The music (composed by Sparks’ Ron and Russell Mael), in general, is interesting: the orchestral part of it is very beautiful, while the lyrics end up being a bit repetitive within each song. In any case, the film is bookended by the strongest songs: the energetic “So May We Start” opens, while the emotional duet “Sympathy for the Abyss” closes it. Cinematographer Caroline Champetier does very rich work, starting with the bravura one-shot that follows the cast as they sing the opening song; but it goes well beyond that in a very expressive set of images. The movie flows well, but it still feels a bit overlong.

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