Annie (2014)

Annie2014Poster

Annie
Rating: PG
Run Time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Will Gluck

Cultural rating: pawpawpawpaw

Overall, this film does an excellent job of including marginalized identities (women, people of color) as major and minor characters in a progressive manner. Further, the film challenges traditional conceptions of masculinity.

Summary

In this adaptation of the classical musical Annie, a young foster child and a millionaire change one another’s lives for the better.


Ratings

Language: poopoo

  • Threating and demeaning language
  • “Monsters,” “rats,” “clean like your life depends on it,” “whoop your ass,” “hell,” “oh my god”

Violence: poo

  • Punching

Sex: poo

  • Minimal sexual content
  • Kissing
  • Sexual innuendos

Drugs and Alcohol: poopoopoo

  • Miss Hannigan is depicted as an alcoholic and one who abuses prescription drugs
  • Alcohol is regularly visible

Cultural Analysis

Pros:

Gender:

  • Annie, the central character, challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity. For example, Annie is a lively girl depicted as active, intelligent, and independent. Annie is able to navigate the streets of New York on her own and earn an income when needed.
  • There are multiple strong and positive roles for women in the film. In addition to Annie, Grace, Mr. Stack’s assistant, is depicted as intelligent, powerful, and caring as she often keeps Mr. Stacks in check and acts as a mother figure for Annie.
  • In the beginning of the film, Mr. Stacks reinforces traditional gender roles regarding masculinity as he is stoic, selfish, and preoccupied with success and money. However, by the end of the film, Mr. Stacks challenges traditional masculinity as he shows emotion and cries in front of Annie.

Race:

  • Many different races/ethnicities are present in the film. In addition, the lead characters, Annie and Mr. Stacks, are of color.
  • Also, a depiction of bi-racial couple, Mr. Stacks and Grace, is present in the film.

Sexual Orientation: N/A

Disability:

  • Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, was briefly featured in the film, but his disability was not apparent or a focus.

Body: N/A

Cons:

Gender:

  • Miss Hannigan is depicted as an immoral character in numerous ways. While the inclusion of an immoral character in a film is not problematic, some of the ways that Miss Hannigan is depicted as immoral is directly related to her gender and promiscuity. For example, Miss Hannigan often uses her body as a means to an end (usually to manipulate others to get her way).
  • Stacks, who is a “from rags to riches” billionaire, reinforces patriarchal capitalism as he is concerned with money (hence his name) and primarily himself in the beginning of the film. Intertwined within his financial success is his traditional masculinity as one who is selfish and individualistic. Further, he flaunts his success through conspicuous consumption of material goods.

Race:

  • Lou, who is implied to be Latino, is stereotypically depicted as cheap and love-sick. For example, Lou pays Annie to change the expiration dates on the products at his convenience store, and Lou regularly tries to court Miss Hannigan (despite her many rebuffs) by professing his love for her on the street in front of Miss Hannigan’s place of residence.

Sexual Orientation:

Disability:

  • There are no representations of major/minor characters with disabilities in the film.

Body:

  • In the media, bodily appearance is often used as an indicator of a person’s moral character. Miss Hannigan, who can be categorized as excessive in a number of ways (and even as grotesque) adorns her body with heavy makeup and gaudy jewelry and acts out in extreme ways; Miss Hannigan is an alcoholic and is loud and crude. Given Miss Hannigan’s excessive appearance and nature, she is depicted as selfish and mean.

Suggested talking points

  • A common theme in films is romantic love between a man and a woman. Although this was not the main focus of the film, romantic love is depicted as important for overall happiness.
  • According to Mr. Stacks, hard work and earning money equals success. This is the underlying belief of the American Dream. It is important to consider different types of privilege when evaluating a person’s success. Also, it is important to recognize that monetary success is not the only qualification for success.
  • Many people were upset that this adaptation of Annie casted a young black girl as the lead. Why do you think people reacted so negatively? Why might these negative reactions be a problem?

Image: IMDB.com

Keywords: movie, annie, race, ethnicity, gender, musical, progressive, 2014, music, family