This 100-percent-whole-some TV movie is only slightly more lifelike than the item that inspired it: a popular doll from the American Girls Collection.
The title character (AnnaSophia Robb) is a 9-year-old orphan being raised by her wealthy grandmother (an underemployed Mia Farrow) in 1904. Defying class distinctions, Samantha befriends little Nellie (Kelsey Lewis), who works as a servant next door along with her father and two sisters. After the poor kids' dad dies, Samantha takes steps to free them from a Dickensian orphanage.
Robb is believable once in a while, but most of the performances are from the "let's pretend" school of costume drama.