Recently I got an opportunity for a sneak peak at the new Annie movie. It’s a modern retelling of the classic story, set right in my own backyard of New York City, starring Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie, Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks, Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan, Rose Byrne as Grace, and Bobby Cannavale as Guy. Some things are definitely updated for the 2010’s (tech and social media play a big part) — but it’s still the same core story we all love and the message of hope is still at the forefront. Optimists — the sun has definitely come out!
This new version is directed, written and produced by Will Gluck. Producers include James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith, Caleb Pinkett, and Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith. Celia Costas and Alicia Emmrich serve as Executive Producers. The screenplay is by Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the musical stage play “Annie,” book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on “Little Orphan Annie,” © and ® Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The original movie came out when I was 11, in 1982. While I didn’t see the original Broadway show, I saw the movie multiple times in the theater and then later on VHS (‘member that?).
Last year when the show came onto Broadway, I took my own little girl, who was almost 6 at the time. She loved it too. The music still gets me too. I learned all the songs and remember them all. I’ve been known to sing “Hard Knock Life” when I’m cleaning my house.
Why do I love Annie so much? One of the biggest reasons is because Annie is an optimist like I am. She always looked on the bright side of life. And even though things weren’t great in Annie’s life, but she never lost hope that things would get better (hence, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”). Growing up, I was an optimist too (I still am), even though I had a difficult family situation at home. And no matter what happens in my own life, I try to look on the brighter side of things.
Annie also tried to make things better for the people around her. She didn’t have a lot — but she shared what she had (both physically and emotionally). She looked after the younger kids around her and then later on, she was emotionally supportive to the adults in her life. While I definitely wasn’t as selfless as Annie, I identified with her. Most little girls did. Plus, Annie had red hair and my grandmother was a redhead, which I was always a little jealous of. Now I have my own redhead in my youngest son.
Annie is also about family, albeit not a traditional family. It’s a reminder that families can come in all shapes and sizes. Which is an important message. Family means everything to me, too. Growing up, I had a tough time because my father and I didn’t get along (to put it mildly), but my mom and I were always close. I may have complained about my little brother being annoying, but I was grateful to have him. I consider myself lucky that I have a great family of my own now, with three kids and a husband that loves me.
We really enjoyed the new Annie movie. It actually blew me away – because you don’t just watch this movie, you really feel it! I really felt like I was right there, experiencing everything with the characters. New York City was a central character in this – the streets and buildings were so vivid. I felt myself smiling when Annie smiled. I fell absolutely in love with Quvenzhané Wallis’s Annie. She was perfect for this role and absolutely shone. Cameron Diaz, as Miss Hannigan, was so good at being naughty! I had to fight not like her character! Jamie Foxx was terrific. He can really sing (remember “Ray”?) and is really charming (when his character wants to be). The music, which was mostly updated versions of the original Annie songs, worked well. We were actually dancing in our seats (although I was pretty embarrassed when my toddler ran up to the screen and danced at the end of the movie).
There’s a reason why Annie has entertained for generations – it’s a movie that you can share with someone you love. And I was so happy that I could share this movie with my own children. This version is set in modern day and the same characters and themes are surrounded by a fresh and current story. While I’m not doing an official review in this post, I am pretty sure that you will like it. In fact, I am pretty sure you are going to love it. Annie’s positive spirit and gumption are still at the heart of this story and the young as well as the not-so-young are really going to enjoy it.
I want to know: Which celeb are you excited to see in this movie?
Connect with Annie online:
**Disclosure: I was at a screening of this movie and I have been compensated for my time, as a SheKnows Expert. As always, all opinions are mine.