Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Annette.
If we’ve learned anything about Adam Driver over the last decade, it’s that he’s not afraid to get a little weird — and his latest film is exactly that. Annette, which also stars Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, and Devyn McDowell, made its debut on Amazon Prime on Aug. 20 and set the internet ablaze.
Since the film’s debut on the streaming service, social media has a lot of questions that desperately need answers — the biggest of which being, why is Annette a puppet?
So, why is Annette a puppet?
Stand-up comedian Henry McHenry and his wife, world-famous opera singer Ann Desfranoux, welcomed their puppet baby, Annette, at the height of their careers. After Ann’s death, a washed-up Henry is forced to raise their daughter alone, and he soon discovers that she has inherited her mother’s talent. But it gets weirder.
Henry exhibits his destructive tendencies early on, which only heighten as his daughter rises to fame. As the film comes to a close, Annette visits her father — who has finally been persecuted for his crimes — in prison, and it becomes abundantly clear that Annette isn’t a puppet at all. We now see that Annette is a living, breathing child that Henry has been manipulating for his own benefit.
Before exiting the frame, Annette sheds her wooden exterior, which sheds light on how her father treats the people in his life — like inanimate objects. In an interview with the Washington Post, CGI aesthetic designer Estelle Charlier opened up about how much hard work it took to make viewers empathetic to what looked like a pretty creepy puppet.
“Since she was intended to live among human actors, the puppet had to be able to blend in with them,” Estelle explained, “Yet, too much realism might have given rise to that uneasy feeling described in theories of robotics as the ‘valley of the uncanny,’ when too perfect an imitation of the human ends up creating a somewhat repulsive reaction. Annette, on the other hand, had to be instantly endearing.”
We can’t help but believe that Annette may have actually had a shot at life as a real girl if her mother didn’t face such a tragic end. But how did Henry’s wife, Ann, die anyway?
How did Henry McHenry’s wife, Ann, die?
Henry gives us bad vibes from the beginning — vibes that are confirmed during a fatal encounter with his wife. Henry and Ann’s love story starts off sweet, but it isn't long before Henry’s career takes a turn for the worse, and Ann’s takes a turn for the better, ultimately triggering the breakdown of their marriage.
In an attempt to rekindle their relationship, the two book a cruise. But Henry’s jealousy and resentment toward his wife are too hard to shake. While drunk, Henry accidentally pushes Ann off the side of their boat and kills her, which only foreshadows what’s to come for their innocent daughter, Annette.
You can stream Annette now on Amazon Prime Video.