Annie (2014)

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Messages of Inspiration.

Say what you will about musicals and family cinema, but I think they all have their own respected areas in the world of film. I can’t say I’ve seen everything, or even just the classics for musicals, but I do enjoy them. No, they don’t make practical, reasonable, or logical sense – but what’s really the point in watching a musical? The music. If you’re a musically inclined person, there is a good possibility that music speaks through you – and you’re probably posting music lyrics nonstop on Facebook because of that fact – nothing wrong with that. Musicals speak to a different part of your subconscious – and that part is, in my opinion, inspiration. Annie is one of these musicals.

Okay, so little orphan Annie…err, Foster Kid Annie is a girl that has had a hard knock life. Her foster mother is a crabby and greedy has-been that only cares about one thing – money. Even though she was left a few years ago alone, she awaits her parents return so that she can have a family again. Meanwhile, politician Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) takes her under his wing as a political statement to rise to the top of the polls – but the longer he has her, the more he cares about her story, and what that means for him.

There is one main thing about this film that you need to keep in mind – it’s inspirational. It is. This kid is one of the most positive-thinking people you’ve ever met in such a lousy situation. We’ve all been at rock bottom at one point in our lives or another, and just the idea that a kid of this age can experience loneliness and emptiness and still keep her chin held high the way that she does – should definitely inspire any viewer. The messages of love in this film battling the evil-nature of politics and greed is empowering and not something you should ignore – but at the same time, you probably will.

You’ll miss some of the important messages because it doesn’t focus on them as strongly as it probably should. Here’s the thing, it’s a family flick, and no one really tries as hard as they should to be really good. The acting is okay in parts, and only okay…some of it wasn’t that good at all – I’m talking to you Cameron Diaz and the rest of the smaller roles. I don’t get it – it’s like they knew it’s a family film and decided to act like it was a kids movie. Hey, Harry Potter was family too, and the acting in those films were superb. In short, they shot too young for their target audience. In order to really get a sense of the dire situation these foster kids were in, and how much Annie’s hope is an inspiration, I would have liked the tone to have been a little darker than it was here.

I want to mention that the original Annie is a musical that I’ve never seen. Even the music I’ve never heard past the two over-advertised songs throughout the decades. I just knew about little orphan Annie with a head full of freckles and red hair. Oh, and a bald guy. I was lost on the actual plot – so I can’t comment on the differences this film had with the original source – and you know what? That’s okay. However, if I had to guess, it felt like they were trying to stay true to the overall tone of the story – which I understand, but at the same time – the original was released at the same time when every single movie had a ridiculously light family-friendly tone. I’m just saying that’s not something this movie HAD to keep.

The Good:

If you’re looking for a good, family-friendly time at your local cinema, then Annie is definitely a good choice, chock-full of inspirational goodness with a innocent kid that brings the best out in everyone, regardless of the greed in their hearts.

The Bad:

It’s what you would expect, give or take. Take that as you will – but for the most part, there are no real surprises and the acting is just okay. Cameron Diaz and the rest of the smaller roles in the film really had some bad performances by a long-shot, and I have a feeling that’s most likely because they didn’t take it very seriously and were maybe even told to over-act…which is not what I really like to see.

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