Release year: 2014
Director: Will Gluck
Screenwriter: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna, Thomas Meehan (stage play), Harold Gray (comic strip ‘Little Orphan Annie’)
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas
Ratings: 2 Golden Globe nominations: Best Actress Comedy/Musical (Quvenzhané Wallis), Best Original Song.
Little orphan girl Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with mean foster mum Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) together with other unwanted kids. One day she stumbles across Business tycon and mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), whose campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale), sees great opportunities in the young girl, and soon the orphan girl is guest at the house of the rich tycon and his vice president Grace (Rose Byrne).
The third movie adaption (after Columbia’s 1982 theatrical film and Disney’s 1999 television film) of the 1977 Broadway musical based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, Annie is a charming musical for the entire family, that can easily bare another revival. This time around the songs have been spiced up to fit the time, and despite being a bit too heavy on the drums at times, the song works well and adds to the feel-good- nature of the movie. Young Wallis, who impressed everyone with her stellar performance in her debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), is the right amount of street-wise and charmingly sweet and works well with both Foxx (Ray, 2004) as the millionaire taking her in and Byrne (Bad Neighbours, 2014) as his quirky right hand. As the mean Miss Hannigan, Diaz (Bad Teacher, 2011) seems to enjoy herself tremendously while occasionally bursting out in song. Even though Foxx is easy the best singer in the cast, everyone’s voice is brought to best possible use and the soundtrack works well, even throwing in a nostalgic kick with an updated version of ‘Hard Knock Life’. It is a movie that will make you smile, what more can you ask?
The girl in the first scene of the movie, giving her report, is likely meant to pay homage to the original Annie from 1982 (i.e. the red, curly hair and the red cardigan). This girl is Taylor Richardson who played Annie on Broadway.
Picture copyrights: Sony Pictures