When we first meet a very young Christina (Gloria Cramer Curtis), she is singing in a pub to a Doris Day song. Her voice is lovely, and the crowd enjoys her performance, singing right along with her. As soon as she has finished, she quickly exits backstage and starts running. We soon realize that she is running from the authorities. It’s obvious that she has skipped school to make her appearance at the club.
Christina is part of a large family living in a small apartment. Her father claims to be working, but from the squalor of the room, he either doesn’t work very often or it is extremely low pay. Her mother, while loving her family, just isn’t a strong woman and takes to her bed repetitively. Christina spends most of her time on the streets, singing for money in front of strangers.
We flash forward to 1989 as a grown-up Christina (Deirdre O’Kane) is flying to Vietnam, many years after the Vietnam War. She checks into a hotel, meeting a surly desk attendant and a fellow traveler, a foreigner, who travels all the time to the country. She heads out to the streets of the city to take in the atmosphere and to figure out why God has brought her to this country. She notices all the street children in the city and how they are ignored by the rest of the population of the city. Christina comes across two little girls playing in the dirt. She takes them back to her hotel, smuggling them into her room and gives them food, a bath, and clean clothes. Christina has figured out why God brought her to this place; her mission is to find a safe place for the street children of Vietnam to live.
“Noble” is the moving, heartfelt true story of Christina Noble, who overcame a rough and harsh childhood / adulthood to become an incredible force of nature in Vietnam, helping children in that country have a place to call home. Throughout her life, she is presented with obstacle after obstacle that an ordinary human would just give up on but Christina had a strong belief in herself that she could overcome anything thrust in her path.
Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, and he is at home showing Cristina’s brutal life in Ireland and on the crowded streets of Vietnam. He has perfectly captured the flavor of each city, with the stinking similarities of how tough life is in each place. The script is full of interesting dialog, especially in Vietnam as Christina strives to understand the world she is trying to affect. The flashbacks to her life in Ireland are a little jarring at times, particularly the scenes of an adult Christina struggling in a marriage that isn’t working.
The strength of the film is Deirdre O’Kane as the adult Christina in Vietnam. O’Kane is insanely likable, and we can see why both children and adults instantly open up to her. While O’Kane lets Christina’s vulnerability show from time to time, we also see in her performance a woman who has guts and the fortitude to keeping hope alive. O’Kane has an instant rapport with the children she interacts with. This is especially evident in her scenes with Krnh Quoc Nguyen, who plays a young man who becomes Christina’s go-to guy to find her way around the city. Their chemistry is perfect, and they work off each other incredibly well. Equally fantastic is Gloria Cramer Curtis, who plays the young Christina. She has a charisma that on the screen just flows over, especially in the scenes where she is singing. Curtis also perfectly captures that fighting spirit of Christina.
This is a film that celebrates a woman who refused to be told she couldn’t succeed. Instead, she kept moving forward and spread her love to the children of Vietnam, making a real difference in their lives. You will come away from this film inspired and hopeful, a rare feat these days. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“Noble” is currently in theatres.
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