The movie features a Framing Device in which Rose (Lansbury) is telling a story to a glum orphan named Emily. The story she's telling is about a young girl named Annabelle, and her relationship with her Guardian Angel (Van Dyke).
It was released in five hundred select theaters on December 8, 2018 at 12:55 p.m. See the trailer here.
This movie provides examples of:
- Break the Cutie: Annabelle is put through the wringer, losing her parents, going from living in apparent relative wealth to slaving away in a mill, and then living on the streets after she runs away from said mill.
- Daddy's Girl: Annabelle is very close to her father before he dies.
- The Edwardian Era: The main story with Annabelle appears to take place during this era, more or less. The frame story with Emily is set a while later, in the 1920s or 1930s.
- Guardian Angel: Lansbury and Van Dyke's characters
- Happily Adopted: The wealthy Brownings adopt all the mill girls
- Heartwarming Orphan: Emily and, eventually, Annabelle
- Kids Are Cruel: The other orphans are mean to Annabelle, and give her the nickname "Buttons"
- Real After All: Not only is Rose's story true, the film ends with Emily getting adopted by the grown-up Annabelle
- Riches to Rags: Happens to Annabelle when her father dies, and even more so when her mother dies
- Street Urchin: Annabelle becomes one after running away from the mill
- Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: Annabelle refuses to eat after her father dies.
- Tragic Keepsake: In Annabelle's case, a little porcelain dog
- Wicked Stepmother: Annabelle's cruel step-aunt sends her to work as a child laborer in the mill owned by her family. Annabelle doesn't even get to live with said step-aunt, instead being sent to live with the other orphans who work at the mill.