Moll Flanders is a 1996 drama that follows the mishaps and adventures of a resourceful social climber. Directed by Pen Densham, Robin Wright is the titular character, leading a cast that includes John Lynch, Morgan Freemen, Stockard Channing, and Jeremy Brett (not credited). The movie is a flashback. Hibble, an old friend of Moll Flanders', retrieves Moll's orphaned daughter from a London orphanage and brings her to the British West Indies. During the journey, he tells the daughter the story of Moll Flanders' life, replete with Moll's innumerable travails through London society in the 18th century.
Moll is the daughter of a thief. After her mother is executed, Moll is raised in a convent. She is abused by a priest and rebels in her adolescence, taking to the shady streets of London. She survives repeated misfortunes and reversals, though holds to the dream of procuring a rich husband and living an affluent life.
Moll's intentions soon come to naught, as most of her enterprises do, and upon a ship bound for America she lands in the clutches of one Mrs. Allworthy (Channing), a brothel owner. Hibble (Freeman), Mrs. Allworthy's onetime lover, takes a liking to Moll, and resolves to look out for her. He pledges to assist with building a better life for herself. At the same time, Mrs. Allworthy initiates Moll into the business of pleasuring men.
Of the many gentlemen Moll attends, one in particular stands out. He is a poor, young, hopelessly romantic artist named Jonathan (Lynch). He engages Moll's services as a model, stating he intends merely to paint her, and desires no relations with her whatsoever. Moll is soon enamored of the handsome, starving artist. She leaves Mrs. Allworthy and her life of prostitution for good, and takes up with the painter.
The young lovers transcend several challenges, including Mrs. Allworthy's repeated interruptions, and a bout of smallpox, but ultimately find happiness with one another.