What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Annie finds out that her parents are dead, which could be emotionally intense for some children, and young children are advised to stay away, as Miss Hannigan's villainy may be a bit scary for them. Grade school kids might get antsy during the songs, but they'll love spunky Annie and her cute dog Sandy. The plight of 11-year-old Annie will captivate many preteens.
What's the story?
In 1933 Manhattan, feisty 11-year-old Annie (Alicia Morton) lives in an orphanage run by the dastardly Miss Hannigan (Kathy Bates), and dreams of someday finding her real parents. When Annie is invited to the home of billionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks (Victor Garber), the plucky orphan wins the tycoon's heart and he offers to adopt her. She resists, however, still determined to be reunited with her real parents. Spurred by the $50,000 reward that Warbucks offers, the conniving Hannigan and her unscrupulous brother pose as Annie's parents. But just in the nick of time, help comes from a surprising source -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When she finally learns that her parents are dead, Annie thankfully agrees to let loving Warbucks adopt her.
Is it any good?
This Wonderful World of Disney version is abundantly satisfying. It's short, sweet, and faithful to the stage play. Director Alan Marshall does a fine job of integrating the music into the story, the musical numbers are done in high style, but still feel spontaneous and unaffected. In her movie debut, Alicia Morton is spirited and natural as Annie, performing her songs with sensitivity and skill. Kathy Bates is perfectly cast as the greedy Miss Hannigan, while stage veteran Victor Garber is expert as the big-hearted "Daddy" Warbucks. And, there's a great cameo by Andrea McArdle, Broadway's original Annie.
Annie involves the misadventures of a girl, but the story holds equal appeal for boys, who will probably be charmed by the spunky redhead and intrigued by the imposter parents adoption plot -- and even began singing along to the songs! This is an Annie that the whole family can enjoy.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why orphan stories are so popular. What other titles can they think of? What is powerful about these stories?