Hello World Communications
Hello World Communications - Tools & Services for the Imagination - HWC.TV

Film Festival Today

Founded by Jeremy Taylor

“Cabrini” Is an Adequate Biopic

Written by: Adam Vaughn | March 7th, 2024

Cabrini (Alejandro Monteverde, 2024) 3½ out of 5 stars

Following his controversial, yet powerful, 2023 film The Sound of Freedom, director Alejandro Monteverde dials back the polarizing content to bring us a much less charged narrative about a prominent Catholic figure. Cabrini follows the compelling story of Francesca Cabrini, an Italian nun who is sent on a mission by Pope Leo XIII into the slums of New York City to bring the Christian word to new immigrants at a time of great need. While the film never takes any true cinematic risks, overall Cabrini profiles an inspiring Catholic woman leader that is sure to entertain both moviegoers and faithful audiences alike.

The film’s lead actress, Cristiana Dell’Anna (The King of Laughter) carries the powerful feminist theme, throughout. Dell’Anna’s performance as a headstrong yet passive Catholic leader is nicely juxtaposed against several male characters, including Pope Leo XIII (Giancarlo Giannini, Duetto), Archbishop Corrigan (David Morse, The Virtuoso), and Mayor Gould (John Lithgow, Bombshell), all of whom attempt to talk down to and/or tame Cabrini as she sets of to accomplish God’s work in the world. Much of the film’s strongest drama comes from the energetic dialogue between Dell’Anna and these three actors.

Cristiana Dell’Anna in CABRINI ©Angel Studios

The most intriguing visual and thematic elements of Cabrini is the setting of a turn-of-the-century New York, showing the poverty-stricken communities who would inevitably suffer even more during the future Great Depression. It recalls the flashback scenes from The Godfather Part II, where the young Don Corleone tries to help those in need from whom his own neighborhood (using, granted, far different methods). While the film movie depicts strictly Italian poverty—with slight references to Irish immigrants, as well—it showcases the danger Francesca Cabrini courts as she tries to provide charity to some of the poorest communities in early-1900s New York.

The methods of telling this story, alas, employ fairly conventional script techniques, and many viewers may find the specific Christian angle to be exhausting. But for any of those strong in the faith, Monteverde’s latest film will entertain through its glorification of an influential feminist Catholic and provoke strong emotion through its depiction of turn-of-the-century immigrant struggles. Angel Studios, while continuing to promote their Christian values, has found ways to outreach to a wider audience and present a historical drama that captivates, even if it teeters more towards the ordinary than to masterpiece.

Still from CABRINI ©Angel Studios

Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

2 thoughts on ““Cabrini” Is an Adequate Biopic

  1. C’mon. The movie was way more than adequate. It was inspirational. At least here we see a real hero, not some made-up cartoon.

    1. I appreciate the comment, as I was very inspired by the story of Francesca Cabrini, particularly having not been familiar with her courageous story prior to viewing this biopic.

      That being said, “adequate” is more so a review of the film from a technical and narrative perspective, and not a critique of Cabrini herself.

      (Also, I prefer the live action adaptations of those “cartoons” anyway ☺️)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *