Cabrini - Film Review

Cabrini - Film Review

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Posted 2024-03-05 by Jenfollow
Images © Francesca Film Production NY

Cabrini is an epic story of an Italian immigrant nun, Francesca Cabrini, who knew no bounds to conquer the world. Her determination and legacy still stand today, and resonates the power of one is there for all who dare. This is an underdog story on a truly epic scale. A story of one woman, who is also a nun, and who never ever backed down, defying impossible odds in a world dominated by men. Most of all, this is a story of hope, determination and love. The film will be in cinemas on 7 March 2024.

From the award-winning director of Sound of Freedom, Alejandro Monteverde, comes the powerful epic of a very special Italian immigrant who arrives in New York City in 1889, only to be greeted by disease, crime and impoverished children. Cabrini sets off on a daring mission to convince anyone who will stop and listen, including the hostile mayor, to secure housing and healthcare for society's most vulnerable. She herself had poor health that was life-threatening, but that did not stop her entrepreneurial mind from building an empire of hope, unlike anything the world had ever seen.


Cabrini the film grabs you by the throat from the start, kicking off with a very emotive scene that's hard not to feel unless you have a heart of stone. From there, you are dragged through the streets in the immigrant district of Five Points which was obscenely unsanitary and housed brothels. The alleyways sheltered criminals, and street children - the children whose living conditions were worse than the rats that lived in the sewers. Not all was equal and filled with squalor and pain in NYC 1889. While the immigrants of the Lower East Side lived in extreme poverty the mansions of upper 5th Avenue were opulent and boasted indoor electricity and plumbing.

This film may be dominated by a religious nun, but this is not a pious film. It's about an absolute powerhouse of a woman, a disruptor on every level. She came with nothing and built the largest humanitarian empire the world had ever known. It breaks the stereotypes of what it means to be a saint and a nun; a story about a woman in a man's world who against all odds built a multinational conglomerate at a time when women couldn't even vote. Her empire was dedicated entirely to those at the margins, to the orphan and the immigrant with nothing, her engine running on love.


The film stars Christiana Dell'Anna as Cabrini; and the magnificent John Lithgow as Mayor Gould, the man you'd love to hate; David Morse as Archbishop Corrigan; Giancarlo Giannini as Pope Leo XIII; Federico Castelluccio as Senator Bodio; Jeremy Bobb as Calloway the sympathetic reporter; Patch Darragh as Dr Murphy; Federico Lelapi as Paolo the young orphan, and Romana Maggiora Vergano as Vittoria the prostitute. Visually stunning, this is a film you need to see on the big screen, a portrait of a heroine whom you might now know much about, but will stay in your heart once you do. Christiana Dell'Anna puts in a powerhouse performance as Cabrini, and takes you on her journey of the impossible - you'll find yourself feeling all her disappointments and rooting for all her achievements. Lithgow as the mayor is also magnificent, and like Dell'Anna, gives a standout performance.

The cinematography is gorgeously atmospheric which adds to the emotive vein running throughout. There are some good solid messages about love and caring, and working at creating a world you'd want to live in. It is also more about the deeds and overcoming insurmountable tasks to get it done than a story about Cabrini the person herself. The characters collectively elicit emotional responses from us but we never really get to know any of them beyond their functionality. Despite this small opinion, it's a magnificent film that's not just for the religious, but one that will appeal to everyone.


A few fast facts - 'Mother' Cabrini was canonised in 1946 by Pope Pius XII and became the first American citizen to be named a saint. Four years later she was given the title of Patroness of Immigrants. She died in Chicago on 22 December 1917 at the age of 67 of chronic endocarditis. Over the course of 34 years, she established an astonishing 67 hospitals, orphanages, and schools. You will look at and understand the name 'Cabrini Health' with a newfound respect. It was St Frances Xavier Cabrini who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1880 to be a witness of God’s love for people through compassionate action. Today, this mission reaches around the world and is present on six continents, including Australia. In Melbourne, Cabrini is owned and sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who came to Australia in 1948 to take over the management of a 45-bed community hospital named St Benedict's in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern.


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279748 - 2024-03-05 03:41:45

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