Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna (script), Greg Kurstin, Sia (new music)
Based on: the play written by Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music), Martin Charnin (lyrics) which is in turn based on Harold Gray‘s comic strip Little Orphan Annie
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas, Cameron Diaz, Michael J. Fox, Patricia Clarkson, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Rihanna, Sia
Seen on: 23.01.2015
Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is an orphan and lives with the difficult Ms Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) and several other foster children. She dreams of finding her parents and whenever possible she passes her time coming up with ways she could find out more about them. But her life takes an abrupt turn when she is saved from getting hit by a car by the self-involved businessman Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) who is running for mayor. Stacks’ PR person Guy (Bobby Cannavale) sees the perfect opportunity to make Stacks more likeable and convinces him to take in Annie, despite the misgivings of Stack’s assistant Grace (Rose Byrne). But Annie is not just a passive thing to be used – she makes her own life.
I don’t know whether I have actually ever seen the film from the 80s and I know for a fact that I didn’t see any of the other adaptations of this. And as practically an Annie virgin, I really enjoyed the film, even if it had its weak spots.
Annie takes place in a pretty simple world, where everything is telegraphed, so you – as the audience – don’t have to doubt a thing. Bad guys are obvious, good guys are obvious, there are no shades of grey (though some characters manage to switch from black to white). Sometimes that becomes a problem as you watch the film. A little more subtlety could have gone a long way, especially with Ms Hattigan, or rather the foster care system. [But that is a particularly touchy subject for me, since my parents worked in the field and I can’t really see all those modern Oliver Twist settings with much humor.]
But mostly the lack of subtlety is one of the film’s charms (especially when it comes to the Moonquake Lake stuff – a wonderful in-movie parody that had me crying with laughter at the lyrics, and everything else). And as much as I didn’t like the foster care stuff around Ms Hattigan, Cameron Diaz cracked me up – and I didn’t even get to hear her sing since the film was only released in a dubbed Version in Austria. I was hoping that they at least wouldn’t translate the songs, but they did and it sucked.
Sometimes the film is a little too earnest in its silly bubblegumminess. They try to turn everything into a joke and have it be fun. That means that they miss the times when a little less fun and a little more emotion would have served the film well. When Annie feels betrayed by Stacks, it’s only to due to Quvenzhané Wallis and her wonderful face that you feel her pain at this – almost despite the film. [And I find myself returning to her, I’m not even sure why, but Ms Hattigan’s redemption came out of nowhere, way too fast and way too easy to be meaningful.]
But even when the film misses, it still entertains with it’s nice pop soundtrack and tireless energy. And especially the kids in the cinema with us really had a blast.