On Christmas Day I braved the masses and went to the movies with friends. Before hand we had decided on seeing the new Annie, with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, I had read the reviews and was not overwhelmingly excited, but wanted to spend time with the people I love. We went, we laughed, we cringed, but what I did not expect was to be encouraged.
Throughout the film there were nods to the original musical, the precocious orphan (“I’m not an orphan, I’m a foster kid”), the hardened rich man, the cruel foster parent, the curly hair and the red dress. The homage to the 1982 version kinda ends there. But this is not a review, it is a startling glimpse at the transformative power of love.
SPOILER ALERT! I am going to tell you what happens, but as with the Titanic, the moratorium on giving away the ending has passed. Adorable Annie is about to be run over when she is saved by the tough mayoral candidate, Mr. Stacks. As any campaign manager on the planet would attest, exploiting a kid, an orphan no less, is political gold! While the cute kid is being used for increasing likability in the polls, something else is happening. A softening of the heart. Mr. Stacks is letting this straight talking kid in. Stacks and Annie know that everyone is working an angle, but neither thought they would find home in each other.
As I was watching this well known story unfold, I thought- What if donors, supporters, and philanthropists, got to know the “orphans” they throw money at? What if we learned to love the under-resourced? What if, by getting to know the Annies of the world, we brought them into our families and fought for justice along side them, instead of forcing our perception of justice on them.
I long for Mr. Stacks to represent those who give to nonprofits. I want Annie to represent the variety of people who may be orphans of sorts: the single mom who was orphaned by her baby daddy, the inmate orphaned by poor council, the kid orphaned by systemic injustice. Orphans need advocates and families. Mr. Stacks went from using Annie for his personal gain to advocating with her. This is what the Church must do, this is what donors must do, this is what I learned from Jamie Foxx