Noble (Stephen Bradley, 2014)

Reviewed by Dennis Hansson. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Noble is a biographical drama about the life of Christina Noble, Ireland, who went through a series of difficult and violent times in her life, but that somehow made the extremely unselfish decision to dedicate her life to make the life of homeless children in Saigon better by trying to set up a children’s home and provide as many as she can with food and security.

The film is kind of divided into three parts, that are being showed parallel through the movie. The three parts of the movie shows the life as Christina when she was about 10 years old, Christina’s life in her late teenage, and her life as an adult in Vietnam. When we follow the story of Christina when she was just a kid (Gloria Cramer Curtis) we get to get in touch with the domestic issues she had with her alcoholic father and her sick mother. In the part that follows the old teenager Christina(Sarah Greene), we get to experience a time in her life that keeps being filled with traumatizing and horrifying events, but that also includes love and friendship which probably was the one motivation that kept her going in life and not giving up, despite all the suffering and tragedies she has been through. The part where we follow Christina when she arrives to Saigon as an adult(Deirdre O’Kane), is the part that connects the two earlier parts of this story of her life together, and we more and more get to understand how her past has affected her as a person, how it shaped her to make the decisions that she made, and how she applies that when trying to help others. But yet again, this part includes horrifying events, so it is not totally a sunshine story.

The story of this extraordinary Irish woman is absolutely fantastic and inspirational. To overcome obstacle after obstacle, tragedy after tragedy and then devote her life in helping others is as wonderful as it is hard to comprehend  for people like me, who has been very fortunate in life and not being forced to sleep outside for months like Christina did in my age. The story is the thing really makes this film. The acting is also good with some powerful performances in some scenes by the characters playing Christina, but unfortunately there are some weak moments of acting in the film by others in the cast. This is yet again forgotten, as the story grips you entirely. It may sound from my point of view that the acting in general is bad, which isn’t my opinion, but it is in this aspect that improvement could have been made. Hands down to Gloria Cramer Curtis, Sarah Greene and Deirdre O’Kane who all did steady and professional performances as Christina.

I think there are certain type of films; films that you should analyze in detail and in a filmmakers point of view and films that you shouldn’t. In this case, the story and the educational value of social injustice and exploitation that occur in some of these places weighs more than exceptional acting from the full cast, which makes this a film that I would label as a film that I wouldn’t analyze in all cinematic aspects, but a movie to simply watch and to learn something while watching it.

I give Noble 7.5 out of 10. The story is amazing and gripping and the steady performances from Deirdre O’Kane pushes it up from 7 to 7.5.


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