By Elliot Coen
Oh dear. My usual self likes to take on a slightly verbose persona when writing an introduction for a review, but I cannot sugarcoat it for you this time; Annie is an abhorrent film. I thought I had hit rock bottom for the week after watching Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, but, alas, my faith in the medium was to be sapped once more. I saw it in a theatre, empty, apart from myself. This gave me enormous pleasure in not having to keep my anger inaudible. I watch a fair share of films in the ‘family/child’ genre niche, always going in with an open mind, and often coming out pleasantly surprised. So, I need to stress that I am not over exaggerating just how terrible this 2014 interpretation of Annie actually is.
A film such as Annie, centering on one protagonist, is reliant on the performance of said character. You would hope that the story of an orphaned little girl would be endearing, but I found the Annie portrayed on screen, and I’ll stand by this, to be completely punchable. Quvenzhané Wallis is an unwanted presence on screen here, playing Annie in such a horrible and obnoxious way. All she does is sarcastically snap at anyone who doesn’t agree with her, in an overly sassy way. I do not want to be too harsh on an 11 year old girl, who is already heaps more successful than me, so perhaps it’s all in the bad script. Either way, I had no compassionate feelings for Annie during the film, from front to back. It infuriates me that this film is being represented at the Golden Globes, but more so that it is Quvenzhané Wallis up for best actress; it is possible that she could beat Julianne Moore to the title, which would be a real travesty.
Annie doesn’t just fall down on its lead role. Every scene with Cameron Diaz, playing the cruel foster parent, made me want to claw my eyes out. Rose Byrne continues to waste her genuine talent by taking part. I cannot talk about wasted talent without pointing out that motherfucking Jamie Foxx is in this picture. The guy can sing well, act well, and is a decent stand up comedian on the side, but you really wouldn’t think it from watching him in Annie. He plays a stupidly rich CEO called Will Stacks for fucks sake. Get it?
The thing that really tips me over into loathing Annie is the contrived manner in which it tries to justify its relevance. At every opportunity, the presence of social media is thrust down our throats, unfortunately ruining any shred of integrity remaining of the original Annie story. The only reason Jamie Foxx even adopts Annie is because of a video he is shown on YouTube. Annie has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts. There’s a completely farcical chase sequence at the end, in which Jamie Foxx and his crew use real-time pictures posted on Annie’s blog and Twitter stream to track down the car being chased. I left the theatre wanting to destroy my phone and any online presence I have, just out of spite.
Annie is one of the worst films I have ever watched, destroying anything that was once good about the story, replacing it with rehashed auto-tuned songs and rubbish about social media. Avoid at all costs.
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