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Short takes

Not recommended under 10; parental guidance recommended 10-13 (Scenes that might scare young children; Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Annie
  • a review of Annie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 December 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to themes and scenes that may scare young children
Children aged 10 to 13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Annie
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 118 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the 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.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

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

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • 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.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

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

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

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.  


Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

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.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • 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.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Stacks and Grace share a kiss.

Use of 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.

Coarse language

There is mild coarse language in the film, including the terms:

  • ‘shut up’, ‘sucks’, ‘damn’, ‘bitch’, ‘hell’, and ‘idiot’

In a nutshell

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.
  • Social class.