Remake of the 1930’s Broadway musical, Annie
Annie is a jazzed up, modern remake of the original 1930s Broadway musical. 2014 Annie tells the story of a bright and charming foster child (Quvenzhane Wallis) who lives under the guardianship of nasty Ms Harrington (Cameron Diaz), a former Broadway star who takes care of foster children only because she receives a monthly stipend from the state government.
Every Friday evening, with one half of a locket and a promise written on a scrap of paper, Annie Bennet waits at the street corner across a restaurant for her parents to return.
They never do. She is very well known in her neighbourhood. There’s the restaurant owner, who has connolis ready for her every Friday, and there’s Lou (David Zayas) , a shop owner who always sends Annie with a bouquet of flowers to give to Ms Harrington. Lou also lends her a bucket so she can reach onto the fire escape that allows her into her room. In Ms Harrington’s crowded New York apartment, Annie shares a room with five other children; Isabella (Eden Duncan-Smith), Tessie (Zoe Margaret Coletti), Mia (Nicolette Pierini), and Pepper (Amanda Troya). With a little help from her sisters, Annie must use her whit and down-town New Yorker street savvy to seize every opportunity and make her escape out of the ‘hard-knock life’. One day, when Ms Harrington’s apartment is being inspected by a social worker, Annie worms her way out of the apartment to find out who she really is according to the city’s system archives. On her way back, she (literally) bumps into Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a germophobic business tycoon who is running for mayor of the city. I was excited to see the film mainly because of Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis, who I think are brilliant actors. I have only seen them play serious roles so I was eager to see how they do in something more comedic and childlike. I also love musicals and 2014 Annie has a few twists to some of our old favourites, as well as a few new compositions by famous Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler.
I was honestly blown away as soon as the film began. Quvenzhane Wallis brings so much soul into her character in a unique but believable way. Annie is a sensitive girl, but when she engages with people, her quick wit effortlessly masks the things that trouble her the most. In my opinion, Wallis has a gift and she was able to communicate the role she was given flawlessly. Even at the age of five, when Wallis played Hush Puppy in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, I was instantly amazed at how well she could capture the screen with her character. Her portrayal of Annie was no different. Jamie Foxx didn’t disappoint me either. His character, Will Stacks, is both tough and lovable. Behind his magnetizing congressional character, he is quite stuck-up. But it doesn’t take long before Annie makes his paternal instinct crouch out of its hiding place. Instantly, you can see how Annie and Stacks belong together. No one is able to keep up with him and keep him on his toes the way that this little girl can. I do think they could have done a better job with Ms Harrington, though. I found that I had to force myself to like Cameron Diaz as Ms Harrington because I was desperate to enjoy every part of the movie. To me, Diaz was too satirical in her acting and she looked more of a mess than her character did. This modern musical received more bad reviews than good, unfortunately, but I really enjoyed it. I think that for a children’s flick, the story is quite well-rewritten and the filmmaker chose (mostly) good actors. I personally found the film to be both hilarious and heart-warming through and through.