Cabrini (2024)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on March 20, 2024 @

Cabrini is based on the actual story of Mother Cabrini, a Roman Catholic nun born in Lombardy, Italy, who immigrated to New York City in the late 1880s. She came to America with six other nuns.

Francesca Cabrini became Frances Xavier Cabrini in the U.S. She was the first American citizen who was canonized a saint.

Cabrini is the story of a slight woman with ill-health who was predicted to have an early death who became a stalwart for drastic change in the New York slums. It was a setting for disease and despair. Her personal mission was to make it an "empire of hope."

Her fervent efforts - despite powerful efforts by state and church against her - ultimately created places of care for orphaned immigrant children.

The direction by Alejando Monteverde from writing by Monteverde and Rod Bart is apt.

What is a major strength of Cabrini is the acting. Cristiana Dell'Anna gives a formidable performance as Mother Cabrini. Her opponents are played by David Morse and John Lithgow. Lithgow is particularly effective as the scheming, negative Mayor Gould. He and Mother Cabrini have a political battle. He says, "You would have made an excellent man."

Also memorable in a minor role is Giancarlo Giannini as Pope Leo XIII. [Giannini portrayed Mathis in two James Bond films.] He brings gravity to his performance as the Pope.

Adding to the evocative, palpable quality of the film is the cinematography by Gorka Gomez Andreu.

The one element that creates false evocativeness is the at times overly intrusive music by Gene Beck. It's too much.

But in Cabrini the filmmakers avoid making just another feel good movie of feminism and faith.

It raises the creative stakes.

Cabrini is an evocative film with a soul.

© 2000-2024 Tony Macklin