In musician Tim Janis’s debut film, he delivers an old-school story about how two young women find their way through a series of tragedies, thanks to the help of two angels at Christmastime.

Dove Review

Little orphan girl Emily is rushed to the hospital with fever on Christmas Eve. Unseen by anyone else, her guardian angel (the delightful Angela Lansbury) arrives by her side and tells Emily the story of another orphaned girl, Annabelle, who must fight to survive in a mill after her evil aunt has her condemned to brutal labor. Only Annabelle’s guardian angel (Dick Van Dyke) can save her from the dangers facing her.

The film is narrated by legendary actors Robert Redford and Kate Winslet, with other music and acting provided by Jane Seymour, Roma Downey, Ioan Gruffudd, and Sir Paul McCartney. After the film, in the special tribute to dancer, director, and choreographer Gene Kelly, hosted by his wife Patricia Ward Kelly, audiences will see behind-the-scenes elements from Kelly’s popular movies in a featurette accompanying Buttons in the theatrical event.

For families seeking a gentle Christmas narrative for all ages, Buttons is the kind of Christmas film that will leave audiences smiling. With music written by Tim Janis, who also directs, the film pops with catchy beats and wholesome lyrics. While the tension is high as Lansbury’s angel tells the story of Annabelle, we know from the Christmas movie genre that this will end well, even if it takes awhile.

Buttons certainly points to the ways that the real world is full of trials and tragedy, but the presence of the angels and nuns at the hospital who watch over Emily allow a viewpoint of faith to break into the darkness. Prayer becomes a vital component in the revelation of the film, in that faithful prayer moves God’s agents to perform miracles. Without prayer, the film argues, people would be left stuck in their suffering; but thanks to the prayers prayed, hope shows up in surprising ways that the young orphans never expect. Thanks to Buttons, that story is conveyed to the audience with a musical whimsy that will lead families to discuss their own blessings and the way that prayer leads us through the troubling moments of life.

The Dove Take

Buttons is a Christmas film, filled with music, aimed at inspiring us to pray our way through our troubles.

Content Description

Faith: The angels encourage prayer and the audience sees prayers answered.
Integrity: The nuns' faith requires they care for orphans even when pressured not to.
Sex: None
Language: None
Violence: None
Drugs: A scene or two with alcohol use by adults
Nudity: None
Other: None


Company: Fathom Events
Writer: Tim Janis
Director: Tim Janis
Genre: Family
Runtime: 115 min.
Reviewer: Jacob S.