owenkurtz’s review published on Letterboxd:
A fitting step after Holy Motors, which I think exemplified the artifice in performance and filmmaking in a weirdly restrained, yet over the top way that showed that Leos Carax can do just about anything in a movie. There are no rules in Holy Motors except that we're watching performances. In both that film and Annette, Leos makes his presence known in the opening scenes, waking up in the back of a theatre, or behind the mixing board at a Sparks session. In both films Leos wants us to know he's behind what we're seeing as well as an active participant in the spectacle. From the loose narrative of Holy Motors, Leos flips to a screenplay written by the Sparks boys which is nearly all narrative progression. As Holy Motors showed that Leos could make Denis Lavant do anything for a sequence and we'd have to accept it, we have to follow Annette wherever it goes.
For the past few years, I've really fallen in love with musicals, and think that it represents the perfect genre for filmmakers who really want to take advantage of everything the film medium has to offer and all the artifice and spectacle that comes with it. I would never think Carax would make a full-on musical, but after Kylie's scene in Holy Motors and reflecting on how he uses and takes advantage of these filmic qualities, it really makes perfect sense to do the utmost that a film can do.
Was really into all of this honestly, completely on board. Adam Driver is great of course. Good to see Simon Helberg being funny in another cool movie after "A Serious Man" considering that lil TV show he was in for a bit. Marion Cotillard's presence hangs over the film like a shadow although she may have been a bit underutilized. The movie is absolutely hilarious, the celebrity news chapter segmentation is genius and a lot of Sparks' personality and humour leaks through the screenplay, even when it isn't consistently joking. The Super Bowl scene had me giggling like a maniac. The songs are great too! Yea, great time at the pictures, love having pop corn for dinner! We need more wacky experimental musicals! Please!