gen_is_gone: two one way arrows pointing in opposite directions (Default)
I just went to see Annie with my parents, having forgone our trip to see the California relatives because on fucking Christmas I caught a fucking cold, and miserably slept most of the day. Whatever. It ended up being a good idea not to go, as my uncle is imuno-compromised and really shouldn't be around even remotely sick people. Anyway, we saw Annie.

That was one of the best movies I've ever seen.

I um, started pathetically crying in the first five minutes and it only occasionally abated from there. This movie is *for* millennials, and it's beautiful. It's just so smart, and so utterly self-aware. Not to spoil everything (though the general shape of the story is pretty well-known) but the first image the audiences sees is a little white girl with red hair and a red sweater, giving an essay presentation on William Henry Harrison. She does a little tap dance and the entire class sighs, then she's sent back to her seat as Annie B., our Hero, goes up to give her presentation. Hers is on FDR, and she explains the Depression as 'just like now, but without internet'.

The girls sing 'It's a Hard Knock Life' while cleaning up their foster home, remembering the right bins for trash, recycling and compost. Mr. Stacks doesn't have an army of servants, but he does have a Smart House that knows Annie's every want before she does. There's a scene where Stacks, taking Annie on a helicopter tour of New York, sings about how he worked hard for success and achieved it, and Annie asks him why his helicopter never flies past 97th street. There's the surface self-aware moments, like when Isabella asks what a Hard Knock Life even means, and then there's this. Stacks grew up poor and a person of color in Queens, but came of age probably in the late eighties or more likely the nineties, when the tech boom had only just begun and it was easier to get rich from nothing. He talks about how hard he worked to get where he is (and where he is is so disconnected from the reality of everyone else around him that his mayoral campaign is a joke) to a little Black girl growing up in an abusive foster home, and he talks about playing your cards right and she says, 'what if you don't have any?'.

This movie is brilliant, so much of a win, of a Yes, of an acknowledgement of the world we live in now, where a wealth gap that exceeds the Depression exists alongside technology our parents couldn't have dreamed of, and I cried my way through it and saw myself in pieces of it. I am not Black, and I did not grow up in the foster system or New York or even a working class household. But I know the cynicism, the intelligence and lack of interest in nostalgia, the suspicion and the hurt and the strange, broken hope. Annie's precocious bubbliness isn't blithe unconcern, but nor is it entirely fake. She smiles because she refuses to let people see her cry, but she returns to the restaurant where her parents promised in a note to meet her one day because she does still have that stepped-on hope. She really does believe (despite the not the bad hand she's been dealt, but the fact that she doesn't have cards) that things will get better. She trusts Tomorrow, the Tomorrow she can make by herself, and with her chosen family, and that's the most millennial theme of all.
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