A Review of the 2014 Adaptation of Annie

Nubiana SmileyDecember 21, 2022Dreams and DesiresMedia

Can a foster child’s dream come true? Is there always hope at the end of the tunnel?

In this article, I will help you answer those questions with my review of the 2014 film adaptation of Annie, directed by Will Gluck.

Annie is a foster child living in an apartment in New York with multiple other girls who are under the care of a promiscuous, emotionally detached, and manipulative young woman who fosters them all for her own financial benefits. Annie tries to have a positive outlook on life throughout the movie, which is emphasized through her interactions with the people she comes across every day, all while being uncertain about who her parents are and when they are coming back for her. Understandably, Annie’s circumstances could get her down, but she remains hopeful, holding tightly on to her desire to have her parents one day.

As the movie progresses, a wealthy man by the name of William Stacks saves Annie from being hit by a van when she is running across the road trying to save a stray dog from two young boys. Annie and William become inseparable, building a strong connection, which initially is meant to strengthen William’s outward image, as he is campaigning to be mayor. Yet, they connect with each other and fulfill the parent-child bond they both evidently need. As Annie is assisting with the growth of William, she is very fortunate to be taken out of her toxic situation to live with him — experiencing the life she dreamt of by having her own room, people who serve parental roles, and many opportunities.

Nonetheless, a movie isn’t a movie without a plot twist, and, without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say an ill-intentioned man (working with William) tries to deceive both Annie and William. With his obvious care and love for Annie, William earns her trust again and the movie ends happily with Annie’s dream being fulfilled.

The plot of Annie is cohesive in my opinion, with each event leading into the next, gradually building to a tense pinnacle (which I won’t spoil) and then decreasing in tension to end the movie off nicely.

I also absolutely loved the soundtrack and the songs because of the rhythm and percussion used, which makes the songs lively, exciting, and upbeat, not to mention extremely catchy. I especially enjoyed the songs “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” because of the passion within them, but also the sort of layering and echoing of words that adds to the feel. Furthermore, my liking of the soundtrack increased because of the messages in the songs. For example, in “Tomorrow,” Annie sings, “when I’m stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely, I just stick up my chin and grin and say... the sun will come out tomorrow,” displaying her hope and optimism for the next day. I feel this is an outlook on life that everyone can adopt to make life a bit more enjoyable, even when you meet adversity face-to-face. “Tomorrow” is a song I'll be singing when I’m down going forward.

The character Annie (played by Quvenzhane Wallis) starts off as a hopeful child, but by the end she transforms into a confident, happy, and secure young girl with her dream of having parents fulfilled.

William Stacks (played by Jamie Foxx) is presented as work-oriented and quite desensitized to his own emotions. However, as the movie progresses, William sees the importance of relationships and the people around him, resulting in a healthy balance of work, enjoying life, and the gift that is Annie.

Grace (played by Rose Byrne) is William’s seemingly professional female assistant who supports him in his campaign to be mayor. She begins as an overthinker, in my opinion, consumed by her profession and slightly in denial regarding her true feelings and intentions for William. Towards the end of the movie (with prompting from Annie) we see her embrace her vulnerability and be transparent with William, in addition to serving in a maternal role for Annie.

Miss Hannigan (played by Cameron Diaz) is, as I alluded to in the beginning, promiscuous, emotionally detached (from herself and the foster children in her care), and manipulative. She is seen flirting with men, being cruel and callous to the girls she cares for in every way, including degrading them with her words, and even scheming with the ill-intentioned man against Annie and William’s relationship. But when she realizes the wrong she has done throughout the movie leading up to this point, she has a subsequent change of heart and aids in setting everything right again, displaying a complete change in character morally.

Guy (played by Bobby Cannavale) is the ill-intentioned man I’ve mentioned previously. To begin with, he is depicted as supportive of William, having nothing but his best interests at heart and constantly finding opportunities to build his image and positive reputation, but we are then exposed to his cunning disposition when he only considers himself and his gain from exploiting both Stacks and Annie.

The movie made me experience a lot of emotions. At points I felt on edge due to the tension that built up within the movie; at others I felt compassionate and empathetic because of what Annie was going through. At the end of the movie, I felt inspired to have a more positive and tenacious outlook on life, as Annie did, reaffirming that giving up should always be the last option in the face of adversity. Not only was I inspired by Annie’s attitude, but I was also inspired to see people like me in the leading roles. This showed me, and can show anyone, that we can do anything we put our minds to.

This movie greatly relates to this issue’s theme of “Dreams and Desires,” as Annie almost had hers destroyed and she never once gave up on them or allowed anyone to diminish them. She stuck to her dream of having her parents with her and eventually was granted exactly that — maybe not in the way she thought, but nonetheless her dreams were fulfilled.

Overall, I rate Annie 4.5 stars out of 5 because of the high-quality nature of the movie in its entirety, as well as its beautiful message to stay optimistic and always have hope in your dreams and whatever your desires are.

Nubiana enjoys researching things around nature and things that are natural. She also likes to learn new things and works toward being able to speak fluent Spanish.