Christina Noble grew up in the slums of Dublin and with a gift and a dream she changed not only her life but the life of countless children in Vietnam and Mongolia.
You could be forgiven for suffering from biopic fatigue, I know I am a sufferer, however this is one biopic that is worth seeing. It is inspiring even in some of the bleakest scenes and keeps a sense of humour throughout. Impossible means everything is possible if you’ve got self belief, love in abundance and an iron will as our Christina has.
Stephen Bradley’s film biopic of Christina Noble’s life does at the start feel formulaic. It starts off with a little girl running from the school inspector, her mother dies and that rips apart the family. Christina steps into the mother role given her father’s alcoholism. The children are all separated and Christina is sent off to the convent. The film only really picks up and becomes interesting when Christina makes it to Vietnam and as she puts it “became obsessed with a country I couldn’t show you on a map”.
The adult Christina is played by Deirdre O’Kane and she does a fine job. After meeting the woman that inspired the film Deirdre really captures her charisma, zest for life and most of all her determination. The supporting cast: Ruth Negga cast as the best friend and Brendan Coyle plays Gerry Shaw are both excellent.
The biopic mercifully steers clear of melodrama as it shows Christina helping children regarded as the “dust of life” and taking on the role of Mama Tina to all these children. What was unique and different about this biopic was that I left thinking this woman found her salvation. Too often with biopics I think that’s great the person overcame adversity and became great but did they feel content or happy once they got to that point. Stephen Bradley’s biopic left me with the abiding impression that Christina found her salvation and that’s rare, after all isn’t that we’re all striving for: salvation whatever that means.
Noble opens across cinemas in the UK on 12 February.
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