Story

Annie is a contemporary adaptation of the Little Orphan Annie story, set in present-day New York. Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is a young and happy girl in foster care who is also street-wise and able to take care of herself in the big city of New York. Having been abandoned by her parents as a baby, she was taken in by a mean-spirited and alcoholic foster carer named Ms Hannigan (Cameron Diaz).

One day, in a surprising turn of events, Annie is saved from being run over by a truck by business tycoon Will Sacks (Jamie Foxx). Will’s campaign manager decides that his client should adopt her in order to humanise him in the eyes of the public, leading Annie to be whisked away to a new penthouse apartment. Throughout the film, Annie continues her search for her birth parents.

Themes

Family; identity and heritage; social class and the rich versus the poor; foster care

Violence

There is some violence in Annie. For example:

  • A man is punched in the face by a woman. 
  • At one point, Annie narrowly escapes being hit by a car – she is saved by Will, who pulls her out of the way. 
  • There is a car chase scene at the end 
  • The girls are afraid of Ms Hannigan, who threatens to hit the girls with a wooden broom and sprays them with a cleaning agent.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violent scenes.

From 5-8
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Annie, the central character, has no parents – at one point, Ms Hannigan and Guy join forces and disturbingly hire two people to pretend to be her parents.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Annie contains some sexual references. For example:

  • Ms Hannigan is mistaken for a prostitute after she consistently flirts with men she comes into contact with, wearing sexually attractive clothing and dancing in a provocative manner. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Ms Hannigan is presented as an alcoholic – many references are made to this throughout the film, and she is also seen drinking alcohol in a bar. There are also references to pills she has. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in Annie, including:

  • Stacks and Grace share a kiss. 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Skype, Twitter and Instagram are all mentioned. 
  • Cleaning products associated with Windex are also mentioned. 

Coarse language

Annie contains some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Annie is a film that looks at the challenges of being a young person in contemporary society and offers a heart-warming look at the formation of an unexpected family, and the growth, development and independence of Annie’s character. It highlights the notion that family is not merely biological, and that wherever there is strong enough love life-changing relationships can be formed. Although there is little in the film to disturb young children, the themes make it best suited to tweens and teens, with parental guidance recommended for the 10-13 age group.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The impossibility of purchasing happiness through material possessions.
  • Determination and courage.
  • The importance of friendship.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Child abandonment, the foster care system, and the impact it may have upon an orphaned individual.
  • The issues that arise as a result of illiteracy
  • The issue of placing trust in people who may have their own agendas. 
  • The consequences of social class.