“Annie” is the tale of a kind and optimistic, little red headed orphan girl adopted by a rich man. That is the story you know right? Only part right! 2014’s “Annie” places new twists and developments for the Twenty-First Century’s first cinematic rendition of the beloved American sweetheart. This time around the story is set in present day New York City and instead of Annie being a red-headed Caucasian girl, she’s African-American with a poof of curly hair. Beyond that not too much has changed. Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is still parent-less having been abandoned by them at restaurant as a toddler. Her parents leave a note with her promising they will return for her someday. That someday seems to be no day, as six years have passed and she has been shuffled around from one foster home to another. She winds up in the home of Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), a clear alcoholic, embittered by her failed music career. She takes her anger out on Annie and the other girls in her care, wanting to make them has hateful as she is. Annie, however is highly optimistic, fueled by her deep belief that things will look up for her and the other orphan girls someday.
Meanwhile, billionaire Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx and this movie’s incarnation of “Daddy Warbucks”), owner of Stacks Mobile, seeks to become mayor of New York City. However, he remains far behind his opponent in the polls as most New Yorkers feel he cannot relate to them. His luck changes when Annie literally runs into him and falls into the street. He saves her from being run over by a truck and it is just so happens to be caught on tape by a bystander. The video goes viral and Stacks’ approval rating begins to rise. Realizing the wonders Annie could do for his image, his conniving campaign manager, Guy (Bobby Cannavale), convinces him to become her temporary guardian. Annie, however is streetwise, and knows he needs her and she in turn needs his resources to track down her parents. Their working relationship greatly benefits Stacks and he slowly but surely begins to actually care for the girl. She teaches him that there are good people he can trust and love, and he in turn shows her she can have anything if she believes in herself and works hard. Their bond is soon threatened however, when Guy decides to up the stakes and “find” Annie’s parents with Ms. Hannigan’s help. Will Annie and Will find what they need in each other? You will just have to see the movie and find out!
Now, everyone please note that “Annie” is a musical. This should not come as a surprise to anyone but people seldom know these things when it comes to cinematic renditions of music (SMH). All of the songs are awesomely sweet and as good as anything on Broadway. This film and its holiday release date are perfect. It is heartwarming, sweet, and genuinely and awesome film. Sure you know that Annie ends up adopted by Daddy Warbucks, but never before is the process this endearing. Will Stacks is basically Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. For all his money and prestige, he still lacked the things he really needed love and family–two things that are priceless. When you hear “Tomorrow” and “The Hard Knock Life” you find your heart fluttering, realizing that life is hard, but hopeful. Quvenzhané and Jamie are amazing. I love their chemistry, and you can really tell from the latter that it might be how he interacts with his own young daughter. Besides the music and cast, you will find Will Stacks’ smart house to be the place of your dreams. Needless to say Microsoft was a big sponsor of this film! Annie will not be out “Tomorrow,” but it will be in theaters nationwide Friday, December 19th! Be sure you check it out and bring the whole family. You just might realize exactly what you need sitting next to you in the movie theater ;-).