The Shape of Stories: A Modern Twist on a Classic Story

When watching Kurt Vonnegut explain the shape of stories, I began thinking about movies I really enjoyed that had a “shape” I could easily explain and visually describe. The movie I decided to focus on was Annie. Not the Broadway musical or the first film that was released in 1982. I’ve decided to explain the plot of the 2014 version of the story about Annie the foster child. Annie

The movie starts off with 10 year old Annie running through the streets of Harlem, where she lives in a foster home. She is chasing a dog and she comes close to being hit by a van driving down the street but before the van is close enough to strike, she is grabbed by William Stacks, a candidate in the mayoral race. An onlooker takes a picture of this moment and it’s instantly posted and shared on many different social media platforms. Once this story reaches the press, Mr. Stacks gains a lot of publicity. At this point in his campaign, William isn’t doing well in the polls so his campaign manager tells him he should temporarily take Annie in to show the citizens of the borough he cares about the people. After agreeing to do so he does not like the responsibility of having to care for a child but over time she begins to grow on him and soften his heart. At some point he realizes Annie is what he needed all along to make him care about something other that being successful and wealthy.

Unbeknownst to William, his campaign manager arranges for people to pretend to be Annie’s parents so they can come take her and William can completely focus on his campaign. After she is taken by these people and it’s revealed that those aren’t her actual parents, the chase begins to get Annie back because at this point William’s main focus is Annie and ensuring her safety. Once she is safely returned to William, he drops out of the mayoral race to completely focus on raising Annie.

I would best describe the shape of this story similar to the way Vonnegut describes Cinderella. It starts off with the main character in a seemingly hopeless situation and ends very positively. I drew the shape of this movie based on my interpretation.



When reading reviews of the movie it seems that I am part of the minority of viewers that liked the movie. Maybe it’s because I have never seen the original so I can’t compare it to that but I have found a video review that isn’t too biased. It’s more of a digital story because it includes behind the scenes clips and background information of the movie but it’s not strictly a negative review of the movie like majority of the other video reviews I watched.

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