Sunday 28 December 2014


The 1982 film Annie holds a unique place in the story of our family.

After a year of several Social Worker's scrutiny, three Panel days, 10 days of introductions and most of it being filmed by the BBC the moment finally arrived that we shut the door on them all and we were alone with Sarah, Gracie and Ginger. The palpable feeling of relief and sense of arrival was profound and as I savoured the moment the kids en mass approached me and asked if they could watch a film. Of course I thought, it would be our first unscrutinised and observed  'family moment'.

"Can we watch Annie" they asked

I was genuinely lost for words, the hours of preparation had not prepared me for this, my mind raced trying to comprehend the potential for irreparable harm.  A tale of loss and orphans just seemed inappropriate for this moment.
I sought wisdom from a higher power and she said it was fine, I was being stupid and anyway they had watched it dozens of times with their foster carers.

They went on to watch it dozens of more times, as did I, and as a result song's and scenes are hardwired into my brain and permanently linked to those fledgling moments as a family. Ginger at 20 months had uncannily 'Anniesque' curly ginger hair and the anecdotes of him singing 'the sun will come out tomorrow' at the top of his voice at every opportunity is a cornerstone of most family gatherings.

So to the new film.

In light of my history with the original I am clearly the wrong person to review this film. Furthermore, I'm a total film snob and don't approve of remakes at the best of times. Consequently, I have cast dispersions on the remake and flippantly dismissed it with limited knowledge.

But I thought I should go and Flossy and Lotty were up for it, so after the usual fighty shouty stuff we set off.

I have to say I loved it, this version felt like a contemporary fairy tale. Of course it's not realistic by any stretch of the imagination but I don't watch Jack and the beanstalk for horticultural advice.

Like all good films we watch it through the lens of our own experience. I saw a man who needed to prioritise his life and grab hold of what is important.

Flossy, when asked, described it as a film about a girl that needed to learn to trust.

Lotty just loved it, there aren't many films with characters and heroines that reflect the person she sees in the mirror.

It is non comparable to the 1982 version, that one is a classic musical with outstanding song and dance routines. However, this version had an air of magic that I was surprised at and perhaps the '82 version did not.

Perhaps I'm growing sentimental, on several occasions I stoically held back tears for fear of needing to be stretchered out due to emotional collapse. It pressed my buttons, but as a man of a certain age I am increasingly sentimental and this film hit the mark for me the adoptive father of six.
But I did enjoy it, the music was not great but I forgave it's shortcomings in light of the strong performances from the leads.

Would I recommend it? Yes.

And hello to Jason Isaaks.


  1. Ah, now you've made me rethink it. I, too, loved the 1982 version after being taken to see a theatre version on a school trip. I knew every word to every song and a fair bit of the dialogue too! But I was put off this version by Cameron Diaz talking about it on the Graham Norton Show recently. Perhaps I should cut her some slack :-)

  2. I've never been so sure about Cameron, however, Jamie Fox, the girl (Quvenzhané Wallis) and Rose Byrne were good. I took it on face value and the girls loved it.

  3. Glad it didn't disappoint, in spite of the special place Annie has in your family's hearts. I took my kids, mainly because we'd already seen Paddington! None of the kids had seen the original or knew the songs. My boys found it boring, my daughter thought it was the best film she'd ever seen! She's 8 and a little dancer, so a film about a little girl singing and dancing is as good as it gets for her!

    1. Yes, without my own life experiences I'm not sure my inner boy would have enjoyed it.
      Thank you for commenting.

  4. The old version is very special to me. I was ten when it came out and she was eleven in the film. So we're almost twins. Stupid story. Very flawed. But it made me glow inside. One of the few films I watched over and over as a child. Going to watch the new one in the next couple of days. I'm very much looking forward to it. I hope it makes me glow inside too.

    1. The '82 version is a genuine classic, flaws and all. I hope you enjoyed!

  5. My daughter freaked out at Annie (the original) recently and Paddington a couple of weekends ago. The theme of being alone in the world/separated from birth parents/adoption is so prevalent in kid's films. I initially avoided films that touched on it but now watch them with her and help her work through them - the tears, the fear, etc - with techniques like getting her de-suspend her belief ("They're only actors, it's not real..." over and over). Because I figure she can't avoid films all her life and better for her to watch them now with me and learn to deal with them and get desensitized to them.

    Plus, I really want to see the new Annie!

  6. My kids have always seemed quite robust in what we watched. Not sure why? just doesn't even register they take it as entertainment plain and simple.
    Clearly we all view film through our own lenses!
    Thank you for commenting and I hope you manage to see the new one!