Reason for the Rating: Some mild language and rude humor.
Plot Summary: A sunny orphan is taken in by a political hopeful, and ends up changing his life.
PopFam Recommends: See this movie with a grain of salt, enjoy the updated songs, and have a fun date with your kids.
Annie is a classic, and if you've never hummed "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya', tomorrow," well, I'm not quite sure where you've been. This is a musical that has been replayed multiple times over the years, but never in the way Will Gluck has remade it for 2014.
Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is still an orphan (or as she says, "Not an orphan! I'm a foster kid"), living with four other girls at Miss Hannigan's (Cameron Diaz). It's still a hard-knock life, but Annie still believes that she's never fully dressed without a smile, and the sun will come out tomorrow. Annie wouldn't be the same if she was pessimistic now, would it?
Pessimistic would describe Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), though. A cell-phone tycoon who's making a failing run at becoming New York's newest mayor. Really, the man is a negative, Purell carrying germaphobe who must endure tweets and posts of his every mistake, taken on his cell phones. And despite his VP, Grace (Rose Byrne), and campaign manager, Guy (Bobby Cannavale), it doesn't seem like Mr. Stacks is going to have a chance in this race. Until he happens to save Annie's life. Once the cell phone video of that goes viral, Stacks position in the polls takes an unexpected jump. Before he knows it, Annie is moving in and taking over his space.
Overall, this movie is cute. Many of the original songs have been updated and included, along with several new ones that add a new feel to something very familiar. Which is really the whole feel of the movie, although it took me about half of the movie to not feel awkward in seeing familiar characters being portrayed in new ways. Maybe it was the tone of the movie changed as its plot unfolded and the characters were developed. The first few songs sung by the orphans felt uncomfortable in their beginning and endings, and all of the relationships felt disjointed and "off." Some characters are wrong for the movie or feel unnecessary. By the very end, though, it seemed much of that had resolved.
New songs weren't the only new additions. This version of Annie focused its theme on second chances. Miss Hannigan and Mr. Stacks both have epiphanies late in the movie, and realize how their bitterness and fear have kept them from living joyful, full lives. As in earlier versions, Annie herself gets a second chance at family, as do Grace and Mr. Stacks.
This is probably not a movie you're going to want to see on a date night, but it is a fun movie for kids. I saw it with my 10 year-old son, and he loved it. A couple of girls from his class happened to be there that night as well, and they were chair dancing at the end with huge smiles on their faces. There's nothing in this version that's not in the 1982 version (Miss Hannigan is still a hateful drunk), minus the curse words (which was nice). If you can see the movie from a kid's perspective, it's not a bad one.
Realistically, Annie is a hard show to remake. It's a classic. Let's face it, how can you top a cast of Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters? Will Gluck made a decent attempt, and it's one kids will enjoy.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• What was your favorite song in this version of Annie? Why?
• Who was your favorite character? Why?
• What secret have you kept because you thought others wouldn't understand? Explain.
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