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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This is essentially an operatic cautionary tale about the loss of fame and power and the compulsion to get it back at any cost. Murder and exploitation are committed, but a price is fully paid.
Positive Role Models
No real role models. Henry commits murder and exploits his daughter. Ann seems mostly passive throughout, as does the Conductor. The movie isn't diverse; two of the main characters are White males.
Violence & Scariness
Main character kills someone by punching him, drowning him, and dragging his body into the woods. Character killed during storm at sea. Main character mimes hanging self with mic cord. Gunshot noises during stage show; character mimes being shot. Monologue about man killing wife (tickling her to death). Main character acts violently, laughing maniacally. Main character "dies" on stage, covered in stage blood. "Ghost" appears. Mention of a suicide attempt. News report about wildfires in California. News report about women coming forward to report sexual abuse.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple has sex, with thrusting. Implied oral sex. Kissing. Topless woman. Shirtless male; male's naked bottom also briefly shown. Strong sex-related dialogue. Reference to a blow job.
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Strong language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "merde" (French for "s--t"), "p---y," "a--hole," "bitch," "bastard," "hell," "fart," and "idiotic," plus exclamatory use of "Jesus Christ."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character drinks (whiskey, wine) frequently and gets drunk in an angry, vicious way (alcohol dependency is implied). Both main characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Annette is an unusual, beautiful, arty musical. It was written by the cult band Sparks and stars Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. It has quite a bit of mature content, including sex scenes (with thrusting), implied oral sex, bare breasts, and a naked bottom. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "a--hole," and more. A main character drinks too much and behaves irrationally and violently, and both main characters smoke cigarettes. Characters are killed and murdered (one is punched and drowned), and there's much discussion of death; a character mimes hanging himself and being shot (with gunshot sounds), and a character "dies" onstage, with lots of stage blood shown. Not everyone will like this tragic, devastating, opera-like movie, but it couldl be a great pick for adventurous older teens and up. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
An unusual, magical, opera-like musical of heavy, tragic proportions, this devastating movie will likely alienate those not familiar with acclaimed French director Leos Carax or the music of Sparks. And even viewers who do know Carax's five other features (which date back to 1984; he works quite slowly) may not be ready for Annette, his English-language debut. It shares an aspect of showmanship and facade with his last movie, the strange, beautiful Holy Motors, but it moves in its own direction, going big with its withering emotions. The songs by the cult band Sparks -- profiled in Edgar Wright's excellent documentary The Sparks Brothers -- are also atypical: They're somewhat graceless and repetitive and yet undeniably effective, both searing and naked. (The brothers, Ron and Russell Mael, appear in the opening number, as does director Carax.)
Carax's visual touches are often breathtaking, from the spare stages of Ann and Henry's respective shows to the tilting, storm-torn deck of the yacht to Annette herself, who's performed by a series of eerily beautiful marionettes. Ann is frequently seen with a half-eaten apple, perhaps some kind of symbol of Eden, and Henry sports a notable birthmark on his face. Cotillard, who won an Oscar for playing Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, sings beautifully, but Driver is required to do most of the movie's heavy lifting, and he gives a full-blooded, ferocious performance. Annette is, in the end, a little opaque and a little dispiriting, and it ultimately doesn't seem much deeper than a showbiz cautionary tale, but it has more than its share of entrancing cosmic beauties.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.