Annette (film)

Annette is a 2021 musical psychological drama film directed by Leos Carax (in his English-language debut), and with a screenplay by Ron Mael and Russell Mael of Sparks, and Carax, from an original story, music and songs by the band. The plot follows a stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his opera singer wife (Marion Cotillard) and how their lives are changed when they have their first child. Simon Helberg and Devyn McDowell also starred.

Annette poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLeos Carax
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Ron Mael
  • Russell Mael
Produced by
CinematographyCaroline Champetier
Edited byNelly Quettier
Music by
  • Ron Mael
  • Russell Mael
  • CG Cinema
  • Tribus P Films
  • Detailfilm
  • Eurospace
  • Scope Pictures
  • Wrong Men[1]
Distributed byUGC Distribution[1]
Release date
  • 6 July 2021 (2021-07-06) (Cannes)
  • 7 July 2021 (2021-07-07) (France)[1]
Running time
140 minutes
  • France[1]
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • Switzerland
  • English[1]
  • French
Budget$15.5 million[2]
Box office$3.1 million[3]

Annette was released in France on 7 July 2021 by UGC Distribution, a day after premiering as the opening film at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival,[4] where Carax received the Award for Best Director. The film has received positive reviews from critics.


After a swift courtship, provocative stand-up comedian Henry McHenry (Adam Driver) publicly declares his engagement to world-famous soprano Ann Desfranoux (Marion Cotillard). Shortly afterward, Ann gives birth to their daughter Annette, portrayed by a wooden marionette puppet. The marriage becomes rocky when Henry begins to take care of Annette while Ann's career flourishes and takes her on an international tour.

Some time later, Ann has dreams about six women who come forward with allegations of past abuse at the hands of Henry and nightmares about Henry almost killing her. Back home, Henry's career begins to spiral, exacerbated by an onstage meltdown, and he comes to resent Ann’s continued success. The two schedule a private cruise with the goal of mending their relationship. However, the cruise ends in disaster when Ann falls overboard during a stormy night after Henry drunkenly forces her to waltz with him. Following her mother's death, the infant Annette suddenly gains the ability to sing using her mother’s voice and uses it to haunt Henry.

Though cleared of legal suspicion for Ann's death, Henry finds himself at a financial dead-end without her income. He contacts Ann's former accompanist, revealing Annette's singing voice and suggesting they use her gift for a musical act. The accompanist reluctantly agrees, having been in love with Ann, and as they tour together, Baby Annette becomes a worldwide hit. Henry continues drinking heavily and staying out late, haunted by memories of Ann. One night, when returning home, Henry hears Annette singing a rendition of “We Love Each Other So Much” which was Ann and Henry’s song. He confronts the accompanist, who implies that he is Annette's real father. In retaliation, Henry drowns him in the backyard pool, which is witnessed by Annette as she watches from her bedroom window. Henry plans one final performance at the "Hyperbowl" halftime show, but Annette refuses to sing, instead declaring "Daddy kills people" to the packed stadium. Henry is tried and convicted.

A few years later, Annette visits her father in prison and when he tells her she looks different, she speaks not from the puppet sitting before him, but from a human child standing at the window. Annette denies his attempts at reconciliation, and even blames her mother for using her to get revenge. Henry and Annette share one final goodbye before she leaves him alone, her fate ambiguous. The Annette puppet lies discarded and lifeless on the floor.



It was announced in November 2016 that Leos Carax was set to make his English language film debut, with Adam Driver, Rooney Mara and Rihanna in talks to star in the film. Filming was slated to begin in Spring 2017.[2] In March 2017, Amazon Studios acquired the film; however, Mara and Rihanna were no longer involved in the project.[5] In May, Michelle Williams was cast to replace Mara, with filming now slated to begin in July.[6] Production on the film stalled, with screenwriters Ron and Russell Mael attributing the delay to Driver's commitments to Star Wars. Filming was moved to begin in Summer 2019.[7]

Development resumed on the project in May 2019, with Marion Cotillard now cast to replace Williams.[8][9] In October 2019, Simon Helberg joined the cast of the film.[10]

Filming began in August 2019, with shooting taking place in Los Angeles, Brussels, and Bruges[11] as well as various locations in Germany including Münster, Cologne, and Bonn.[12] Production concluded in November 2019.[13] In January 2020, it was revealed that Belgian singer Angèle was cast in an undisclosed role.[14]


Annette (Cannes Edition – Selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Released2 July 2021 (2021-07-02)
Sparks chronology
A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
Annette (Cannes Edition – Selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Singles from Annette (Cannes Edition – Selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  1. "So May We Start"
    Released: 28 May 2021
  2. "We Love Each Other So Much"
    Released: 25 June 2021

The first song from the score and soundtrack, "So May We Start", was released as a single on 28 May 2021.[15]

The film's stars, while not trained, do most of their own singing.[16] Cotillard has sung in previous film roles and has had a musical career outside film, and Driver has sung in previous film roles as well.

A second single, "We Love Each Other So Much" was released via streaming on 25 June 2021. The soundtrack Annette (Cannes Edition - Selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack) was released on CD and double vinyl on MasterWorks / Milan label though Sony Music: it contains 15 tracks.

The film additionally utilises elements of earlier Sparks tracks, including "Rock, Rock, Rock", "Thanks But No Thanks", "Bon Voyage" and "The Calm Before the Storm".[citation needed]

All tracks are written by Sparks and Leos Carax.

Annette (Cannes Edition – Selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack) track listing[17]
1."So May We Start"3:44
2."True Love Always Finds a Way"
  • Sparks
  • Cotillard
3."We Love Each Other So Much"
  • Driver
  • Cotillard
4."I'm an Accompanist"Helberg1:24
5."Aria (The Forest)"
  • Cotillard
  • Catherine Trottmann
6."She's Out of This World!"
  • Sparks
  • Driver
  • Cotillard
7."Six Women Have Come Forward"
  • Sparks
  • Six Women
8."You Used to Laugh"
  • Sparks
  • Driver
9."Girl from the Middle of Nowhere"Cotillard2:57
10."Let's Waltz in the Storm!"
  • Driver
  • Cotillard
11."We've Washed Ashore / Baby Aria (The Moon) / I Will Haunt You, Henry"
  • Driver
  • Hebe Griffiths
  • Cotillard
  • Trottmann
12."Premiere Performance of Baby Annette"2:13
13."All the Girls"Driver1:19
14."Stepping Back in Time"
  • Driver
  • Cotillard
  • Trottmann
15."Sympathy for the Abyss"
  • Driver
  • Devyn McDowell


Douglas Laman of Collider observed that the movie’s use of a puppet to reflect the titular character of Annette not only represented a continuation of fascination with puppetry from the band Sparks but also a physical manifestation of how the character Henry McHenry views the women in his life as just objects to be manipulated.[18]


Annette debuted at the Cannes Film Festival on 6 July 2021.[19] and was released in France the same day by UGC Distribution.[20][21]

The film was given a limited North American theatrical release on 6 August 2021 prior to digital streaming on Amazon Prime Video on 20 August 2021.[22]

In June 2021, the film's UK and Ireland distribution rights were acquired by streaming service MUBI.[23] It was also selected in 'Gala Presentation' section of 26th Busan International Film Festival and will be screened in the festival.[24]


Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 71% based on 234 reviews, and an average rating of 6.70/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "A dreamy, delicate dance between farce and fantasia, Annette is a magnificently ludicrous rock opera whose experimental approach to its emotional extremes is an ambitious, if not peculiar, return for director Leos Carax."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 51 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e ""Annette" by Leos Carax (2020)". UniFrance. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b Keslassy, Elsa (3 November 2016). "Adam Driver and Rooney Mara in Talks for Music Drama From 'Holy Motors' Director". Variety. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Annette (2021)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Annette - Bande-annonce officielle - UGC Distribution". YouTube. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  5. ^ Lang, Brent; Keslassy, Elsa; Setoodeh, Ramin (14 March 2017). "Amazon Buys 'Annette' Starring Adam Driver (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  6. ^ Raup, Jordan (31 May 2017). "Michelle Williams Replaces Rooney Mara in Leos Carax's 'Annette'". The Film Stage. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  7. ^ Raup, Jordan (23 May 2018). "'Star Wars' is to Blame for the Delay of Leos Carax's Next Film". The Film Stage. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  8. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (15 May 2019). "Adam Driver-Starrer 'Annette' Revived, With Leos Carax Directing (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  9. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (15 May 2019). "Marion Cotillard Joins Leos Carax's Musical 'Annette' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  10. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (9 October 2019). "Simon Helberg Joins Adam Driver & Marion Cotillard In Leos Carax's Amazon Musical 'Annette'; France Deal Inked As Cameras Roll". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  11. ^ Franklin, Garth (2 August 2019). "Leos Carax's All-Singing "Annette" Begins Filming". Dark Horizons. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  12. ^ Mühlens, Maximilian. "Hollywood-Dreharbeiten in Bonn: Oscar-Preisträgerin Marion Cotillard dreht an der Museumsmeile". Bonner Generalanzeiger (in German). Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  13. ^ Sparks (22 November 2019). "Russell and Ron with #Annette cast member @simonhelberg In other news, principal photography of #LeosCarax's ANNETTE is a wrap! ✨ Polaroid photo by #AdamDriver 📸". Twitter. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  14. ^ ""Annette" : Angèle sera au casting du prochain film de Leos Carax". Charts in France (in French). 29 January 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  15. ^ Bloom, Madison. "Listen to Sparks' New Song With Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Sparks fly as musical film 'Annette' geeks out Cannes". Agence France-Presse. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  17. ^ Annette (Cannes Edition – Selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack) (liner notes). Sparks and Leos Carax. Sony Music Entertainment. 19439881912.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  18. ^
  19. ^ Grater, Tom (19 April 2021). "Leos Carax's 'Annette' Starring Marion Cotillard & Adam Driver To Open Cannes Film Festival". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Annette". UGC Distribution. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  21. ^ Staff, Times (19 May 2021). "Big movies are back. Here are 12 summer releases we can't wait to see". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  22. ^ Sharf, Zack (28 May 2021). "'Annette' First Listen: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard Pop Song Welcomes You to Leos Carax's Musical". IndieWire. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  23. ^ Rosser, Michael (10 June 2021). "Leos Carax's Cannes opening film 'Annette' acquired for UK-Ireland". Screen International. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  24. ^ "2021 Program". BIFF. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  25. ^ "Annette (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Annette Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 6 September 2021.

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