Indomitable Annie: A Five Star Re-Make

“What if you have no cards?” Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) asked her temporary guardian, Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx.)

“You bluff,” he answered.

They were flying in his personal helicopter above New York City.

That’s the moment I remember most about this new re-make on the 1982 original movie.

Why? Because the relationship between the business tycoon and this young girl is both believable and inspiring. It’s clear that they were meant to be family: they share the same go-get ’em mentality. Both are opportunists- but Annie’s agenda is pure. She just wants a better life for herself, and to help out her friends when she’s able. She never forgets her roots and isn’t corrupted by fame or instant wealth.

She also sees right through any attempts at manipulation and calls it immediately. She reminds the adults trying to hustle her that though she may be a kid, she deserves respect and will not be forced into anything that doesn’t feel right to her. She will not be used as a PR prop. Rather, she agrees to play along to help the mayor’s campaign– but only on her her terms. She requires that Stacks get to know her. She is not bought or dazzled by paparazzi.

The best thing about Annie is her refusal to be defined by her current circumstances. She does not see herself as someone rejected by her parents or society– but someone waiting for what she knows she deserves: a family that will cherish her. Even when people try to label her an orphan, she corrects them: “foster kid.” She doesn’t attach easily to Stacks– she reminds him he is not her real father. He realizes he needs to earn HER respect and cooperation: something new for a man used to being surrounded by greedy fans and “Yes men” paid to meet his whims.

Annie cannot be bought. Thus, she wins HIS respect. And he finds that, probably for the first time since he was a boy who idolized his workaholic father, he values a human connection more than money.

The movie is a Republican fairy tale– with a heart! Republicans always get a bad rap, but they’re not evil. Just motivated, which is why they are successful in business. From the first scene, it’s clear that Annie is a smart kid, capable of navigating the city streets alone. She has plans. She has dreams. She’s the leader at home, where is she one of a small group of foster kids (not orphans)– run haphazardly by Miss Hannigan.

I’ve never much liked Foxx before this movie– he always seems arrogant. But he played his role so well that I even changed my mind about the actor himself. It’s clear that once he stops his denial about his genuine love for Annie, he is ready to step up and become a devoted family man.

Annie’s optimism and unrelenting kindness changes him.

Annie also refuses to be bullied by Hannigan and escapes at her first opportunity without fear.

And contrary to the bad reviews of Diaz, I think she claimed this role of Miss Hannigan and made it hers. She starts out as openly verbally and emotionally abusive– a desperate alcoholic. She throws her self at every male who enters her lair, and it’s cringe-worthy to watch. But there’s obvious pain and palpable regret behind her negativity. She was once a promising star, now faded. She, too, feels trapped by her circumstances. To begin she hates Annie, who represents what she herself will never have: joy. She singles out Annie the most for bad treatment and talks badly about her. Clearly, she sees Annie as a threat.

So what if she can’t sing like Carol Burnett? Rather than try to do the impossible and copy the master, she had the courage to do her own interpretation. She more than conveys the anguish behind the character’s hostile facade. As she sees Annie holds no resentment toward her, even she begins to change for the better. She puts down the bottle, sees herself as valuable, and begins treating others better.

The girl is downright unstoppable.

I loved the music! It’s more urban, with complex arrangements. It reminds me a lot of the “RENT” movie, which I love as much as the Original Broadway Cast version now. Not all of the songs are included, but I think this team found the heart of the songs and did them justice.

I don’t compare them– it’s that good. This movie stands alone.

I won’t ruin ALL the plot twists for ya. This movie teaches us about faith, love, ethics and sacrifice.

Go and see it. It will make your day and remind you to believe in your own potential, and that of everyone.

It exudes Christmas spirit.

This is a film everyone can enjoy, and LEARN something from. And that’s a big statement from me, because I’ve been a hardcore fan of the 1982 movie since it’s release. It was one the of the first movies I saw, and I STILL HAVE my vinyl record soundtrack! I wore out my first cassette tape of the soundtrack.

I can’t wait to see it again! And buy the soundtrack.

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