An orphaned young woman struggles to overcome a difficult childhood and her later experiences as a prostitute in this period drama set in 18th century London. Drawing only loose inspiration from the Daniel Dafoe novel that provided the film's title, writer-director Pen Densham creates a new story surrounding the title character of Moll Flanders (Robin Wright). The daughter of a thief, young Moll is placed in the care of a nunnery after the execution of her mother. However, the actions of an abusive priest lead Moll to rebel as a teenager, escaping to the dangerous streets of London. Further misfortunes drive her to accept a job as a prostitute from the conniving Mrs. Allworthy (Stockard Channing). It is there that Moll first meets Hibble (Morgan Freeman), who is working as Allworthy's servant but takes a special interest in the young woman's well-being. With his help, she retains hope for the future, ultimately falling in love with an unconventional artist (John Lynch) who promises the possibility of romantic happiness. While Densham's script reflects the intricate plots and varied characters of the period's novels, the often deliberate film stresses Moll's self-determination and emotional journey over the narrative's melodrama.