Annie (2014)

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
Annie (2014) Movie Poster Image
Update of classic musical is cute but a bit hokey.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 118 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 46 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 47 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids might learn a little bit about the foster care system, but older kids could be left with more questions than answers.

Positive Messages

If you're smart and you work hard, anything can happen. Loyalty and friendship are valued. Money and material objects don't buy happiness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Annie is strong, self-sufficient, and curious, but her streetwise antics can come across as manipulative. She's also on her own a lot and makes some choices kids will recognize as iffy (i.e. riding a bike without a helmet and running through the streets of the big city alone). Grace is a kind workaholic. Stacks is self-involved and ruthless at first, then realizes that work isn't the most important things in life. Guy lies, bribes, and cheats -- including scheming to "get rid" of Annie -- without ever showing remorse. Miss Hannigan is a miserable drunk who hates children but loves money and men (never fear -- she comes around in the end). A social worker steals at every opportunity.

Violence & Scariness

Miss Hannigan threatens to hit the girls with a broom and sprays them with Windex. They visibly fear her. Annie almost gets run over by a truck. During a car chase scene at the end, Annie is in danger.

Sexy Stuff

Miss Hannigan hits on many men. She dances provocatively and wears sexy clothes. She's mistaken for a prostitute. She uses innuendo that will likely go over smaller kids' head. Stacks and Grace like each other; they kiss at the end.

Language

A couple of "hell"s and "damn"s, and one "ass." Miss Hannigan calls the girls monsters and tells them to shut up. Also "sucks" and "idiot."

Consumerism

Product placement includes Purell, Febreeze, Skype, 5HourEnergy, and Windex. Twitter and Instagram are mentioned. Many off-screen product/merchadising tie-ins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Miss Hannigan drinks frequently and appears drunk most of the time. She worries that Child Protective Services will find her pills.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Annie is an updated version of the classic stage and movie musical. Set in modern-day New York and starring Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Annie features familiar songs (updated by Jay-Z and Sia) and Annie's typically hard-knock life with vile foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), who drinks too much and terrorizes the girls in her care. Younger kids may find her hostile parenting style very unsettling (she yells in a drunken rage and sprays the girls with Windex). There are a few tense scenes where Annie is in danger (she's also rescued from being hit by a car by Daddy Warbucks stand-in Will Stacks, played by Jamie Foxx), a bit of language ("hell," "damn," "sucks," etc.), and a little flirting and kissing. Illiteracy is also an issue for one of the main characters and is aggressively tackled once it’s discovered. Some kids might find it upsetting that Annie was abandoned at a restaurant as a young child, but the movie talks about foster families and social class in an interesting way. It may not live up to the classic for some die-hard fans, but it's an entertaining family film with good music.

User Reviews

Adult Written byscrilldadoolittle December 22, 2014

Great movie with an unexpected scary scene.

I took my seven year old daughter to see this movie, and we loved the story, the music, the acting (other than Cameron Diaz, though that's more of a person... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written byb080170e December 19, 2014

Not bad but not great either

We had been waiting, literally, months for this movie. We've watched the original Annie movie plus several different stage versions of the play. So, our fa... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 31, 2014

READ! IMPORTANT!!

This movie was really good, but I would suggest being cautious about younger children. Ms. Hannigan has pills and drinks a lot, but may go over younger kids hea... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old February 12, 2015

Great Movie

Love love love it hun! Annie is so cute and this movie has my heart pumpin'! This movie has some language (hell, ass) and some consumerism ( I think that... Continue reading

What's the story?

ANNIE is a modernized take on the Little Orphan Annie story, with updated music and a present-day New York setting. In this version, Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is a foster child who's living with the vile Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) when cell phone tycoon Will Stacks (an updated version of Daddy Warbucks, played by Jamie Foxx) saves her from being run over by a truck. His shady campaign manager (Bobby Cannavale) decides that Stacks needs a child to make him more human, so Annie leaves her hard-knock life for a penthouse apartment. Annie sings her heart out, goes to fancy Hollywood parties, and continues her search for her birth parents.

Is it any good?

The best scene in this generally likable musical is the first one. A little redheaded girl sings an inspiring poem, and you think it will be the same old story; then she sits down, and the Annie of this movie, Wallis, appears. She does her school report on social class differences, and you get the idea that this Annie will be much different than the one in the classic tale. But while it's refreshing to see a new, modern take on Annie -- as well as any kids' movie that talks about class and poverty -- Annie doesn't quite live up to its potential. It misses many opportunities to build the characters and offer teachable moments, instead opting for cheesy dialogue and endless panoramic views of New York City. The lead characters lack passion and emotion; we never fully understand why Stacks is so hard or why Grace is such a workaholic, making it hard to embrace the family they'll become. It drags a bit and is convoluted and hokey at the end.

Still, Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) is impressive -- she outshines her foster dad in every scene. And Diaz is fun as the wretched, aging almost-pop star, Miss Hannigan. Jay-Z and Sia updated the music and added original songs which, although sometimes great, upstage the rest of the movie. Annie isn't perfect, but it's an entertaining musical with a good mix of the old-fashioned Annie spirit and modern life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Annie's choices. Do you think she was justified in sneaking out and lying to Miss Hannigan because Miss Hannigan wasn't very nice?

  • Which characters are intended to be role models? How can you tell? Could they have done more/other things to better demonstrate their positive qualities to kids?

  • For fans of the original, how does this one compare? What's different, and what's the same? Which do you like better?

  • What role does media play in the story? How does that make Annie and her friends' life different than it was for the original Annie?

  • How does the movie depict foster parents? Do you think it's intended to be realistic?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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