Buttons (2018) – reviewed by George

The Hills (Abigail Spencer and Paul Greene) are at home when a man walks up on their porch, knocks on the door, places a letter on the mat, and leaves. But he stands on the walk looking back. Mrs. Hill answers the door, sees the letter and picks it up, then looks down the walk to the street. She sees no one. Mr. Hill comes out and reads the letter aloud. It addresses them and says there’s a baby in the hospital in desperate need of adoption. “Please come as quickly as possible. She’ll be expecting you. Her name is Emily. Sincerely, Rose.” And we see the man still on the walk smile and leave.
Then there’s a flashback showing Emily (Noelle Parker) being brought to the hospital, nuns Mother Genevieve and Sister Mary (Roma Downey and Reilly Anspaugh) taking her in and remarking on her high fever, and the doctor-in-charge, Dr. Johnson (John De Lancie) gruffly agreeing to let her stay. But he says, “This will never happen again! This is a private hospital. These beds are for people who can pay!”
So from that sentiment and the way people are dressed, you surmise you’re in the days of Scrooge – the 1840s and a little later when the rich despised the poor, even more than now.
The story contains several flashbacks, but straightening it out: Annabelle (Alivia Clark) is the child of Sarah and William Kingsley (Julia Burrows and Ioan Gruffudd). They are supremely happy, but in those serious times, William dies and Sarah and Annabelle have to appeal to a relative for help: Sarah’s very hateful, selfish, evil bitch of a half-sister (same father), Mrs. Wentworth (Katie McGrath), who has married well to poor Mr. Wentworth (Robert Picardo), but does she make him happy? How could she? He owns a mill with a poisonous atmosphere from the cotton fluff that is constantly floating about. And that is where both Sarah and Annabelle have to go.
Annabelle escapes, and is being pursued, but attending a nearby church’s Christmas Service are the Brownings (Jane Seymour and Charles Shaughnessy), and their daughter Elizabeth (Devlin Stark). They save Annabelle and then keep her, so the remainder of her life is much better.
Lives entertwine and good things happen, and there are guardian angels looking after Annabelle and then Emily. The man who delivered Rose’s letter was Annabelle’s (Dick Van Dyke) and the Rose who wrote the letter is Emily’s (Angela Lansbury).
Interesting that the DVD case, and the DVD itself, both say “Buttons: A Christmas Tale”. But the film just says “Buttons”, and that is what I have used. Buttons is Annabelle’s nickname.
The film uses Christmas very well, if sparingly, therefore is not strictly (to me) a Christmas movie. It is touching and gives you good Christmas feelings, and the ending is wonderful, and clever, so I am using Christmas as one of its categories. And anyway, with this incredible cast, you simply can’t go wrong. Highly recommended.
Narrated by Kate Winslet and Robert Redford, Screenplay by Tim Janis and Elizabeth Demmer, Directed by Tim Janis.

This entry was posted in B, Christmas, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s