The Annie Remake Looks Even More Saccharine Than the Original

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 6 2014 11:45 AM

The Annie Remake Looks Even More Saccharine Than the Original

Quvenzhané Wallis in the Annie trailer


In the run-up to the 2013 Oscars, there was a lot of debate about whether Quvenzhané Wallis’ moving performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild was the work of a precocious talent—she was 5 when cast in the role—or the result of clever direction and editing. She has since appeared in a short film and had a small part in 12 Years a Slave, but her next movie, an updated adaptation of the Depression-era musical Annie, will be her first big chance to strengthen her reputation as a child who can really act.

It’s hard to tell from the first trailer whether she will prove her doubters wrong, but she does come across as suitably winsome in her role as the little orphan who softens the heart of Jamie Foxx’s selfish billionaire. Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, seems to be lacking some much-needed bite as Miss Hannigan, the monstrous orphanage supervisor. The shadow of Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan from the 1982 film version looms large: Burnett’s performance as the alcoholic, greedy overseer was both terrifying and comical in the best of ways. Diaz is an unlikely choice—while she’s proven to be a gifted comedian, she’s rarely taken on roles that were quite this mean—and she strains here to be convincing as an evil overlord.


Perhaps they’re trying to tamp down the character’s darkness for modern audiences. But this seemingly softer Hannigan, along with the oh-so-current references to George Clooney and Facebook, threatens to make the already-sentimental musical feel even more hokey than the original, and that’s saying something.


Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.