Cabrini movie poster

Cabrini

In theaters March 8, 2024

Rated

,

140 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

If you’re thinking, “It’s been a while since I saw a Victorian child suffer from Consumption,” Cabrini (2024) has the goods for the more historical-minded of the viewing audience, with a dash of poverty and the plague.

It’s 1889, and Mother Francesca Xavier Cabrini (Cristiana Dell’Anna) wants to cure the entire world of basically every disease. She wants to go to China to build an orphanage there, but her repeated visits to the Vatican are either rebuffed or outright ignored by Cardinals. Once she has the ear of the Pope (Giancarlo Giannini), he also shoots down her dream, but as a compromise sends her to New York to begin her work there. Traveling across the ocean to the Five Points Area in Lower Manhattan, through hardship, sickness, and outright hostility against Italians, Cabrini and her Sisters work hard to establish what would eventually become Columbus Hospital in New York, along with her own Order, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus a hospital where all are welcome, despite their faith or ethnicity.

While founded on the life of the first American saint to be canonized, Cabrini is less of a movie about religion and faith. Instead it leans heavily on the challenges faced by all immigrants at the turn of the century, especially in a city as densely populated as New York. That is not to say that religion isn’t invoked, for it is a story about a nun after all. Throughout all of Cabrini, despite bigotry and hostility, groups of the like-minded come together under a banner of hope and acceptance to make the world less of a garbage pit.

Director Alejandro Monteverde, who directed the less than faithful or transparent Sound of Freedom (2023), redeems himself in a faithful adaptation of the life of a very determined woman. The streets are filthy, everything looks like it smells, and the women and children are appropriately grubby. John Lithgow is Mayor Gould and David Morse is Archbishop Corrigan, two men whose own petty bigotry and ambition work at odds with their own stations in life. There is tension and danger throughout, making for a very compelling, if long, drama at 142 minutes. It feels a little saggy in the last 40 minutes, and you’ll want to bring up Wikipedia to see how things turn out.

In a movie with children (Federico Ielapi, Liam Campora), nuns (Montserrat Espadalé), and prostitutes (Romana Maggiora Vergano) with hearts of gold, Cabrini has something for everyone. More importantly, it’s a well-made historical drama at home in any post-Stations of the Cross cooldown, All Saints presentation, or catechism class. Mother Cabrini was a force to be reckoned with despite all obstacles in her path, and Cabrini is a perfectly respectable film that does justice in honoring her

Cabrini (2024) is rated PG-13 for swears, slurs, people getting stabbed, people getting beat up, people getting sick and dying, and people getting blown up.

Cabrini is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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