Noble Film Review

Film Review by Jarred Tito

The Premise
Vietnam. 1989. Fourteen years after the end of the war. When Irish woman Christina Noble flies into Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) she leaves behind an extraordinary life story. But the best is yet to come. Christina lands in a country "that she wouldn't be able to show you on a map". With a few dollars, a dream and her own hard-won courage, she is about to change everything. For hundreds of thousands of people. Forever. NOBLE is the inspirational true story of a woman who believes that it only takes one person to make a difference. And of how she is proved right.

The Review
The film opens somewhere in Ireland, post WW2 where we see a very young Christina Noble, eight or nine years old, singing a lovely ballad to a crowded working man’s bar. She’s bunking school and is there to earn money for her destitute family. She’s only just into her collection when she’s interrupted by a grievous social welfare worker determined to see her and her siblings thrown into the hands of the state.

As a child Christina (Gloria Cramer Curtis) is the victim of an alcoholic father, a mother who died too soon and the sister of a hand full of dependent siblings. She spends her life begging and scraping for food and shelter in the cold city streets trying desperately to fulfill the role of her absent parents. It is this life which Christina Noble continually returns to in her mind and spirit. And it is this life that teaches her how to strive and survive against all odds. But it seems that it is her remarkable relationship with her God that eventually inspires her to go to Vietnam where she will eventually work at setting up the much needed orphanages of post war Vietnam. She, along with the help of local Vietnamese, becomes a driving force, inspiration and champion for so many displaced and destitute Vietnamese children.

What I found so incredible about this film is that it's a true story. A story of courage, a story of determination and of story of faith. Blind faith in a God that seems to have ignored her throughout her whole life. Yet through it all Christina never loses sight of her vision which isn’t even apparent even to her for some time while living in Vietnam. It’s this never say ‘quit’ and never ‘lose faith’, spirit in Noble that is quite possibly the most remarkable aspect of this very gripping story.

There are of course many other features to this film that I should give mention to including a wonderful music score by Ben Foster whose musical score cleverly guides us through a range of time periods and locations. There's also some wonderful direction given by Stephen Bradley who is incidentally the husband of Deirdre O'kane who plays the lead role of Christina Noble as a grown up. I should also mention that the lead role is shared by three actresses, Deirdre O'Kane Christina in Vietnam, Sarah Greene, who delivered an outstanding performance. Up until now most of her acclaimed work has been on the stage so it was quite a treat to see her close up. And the youngest Christina Noble played by a very talented young lady, Cramer Curtis. There are also some other recognizable faces in the mix including, Liam Cunningham of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame (one of the better actors in that tv series) who plays a very convincing alcoholic father of Christina. Greene’s and Cunningham’s work together was quite outstanding. There are of course some appearances by some of Vietnam’s local acting talent which is quite charming. It adds to the authenticity of the whole project and at time gives the movie a feel of a documentary which is appropriate. A few local characters add a bit of comic relief which is also important.

There are many good things to say about this film including the acting, the music score and journey, and I would strongly recommend seeing it on the basis of any one of them. But more than a good watch, this film is an important film to see because it's so inspirational. See Vietnam as you may have never seen it before and experience some of it struggles and impossible dilemmas that you may have thought impossible in our modern world. But then admire and wonder at this amazing lady in Christina Noble whose work and determination saw and continues to see such dramatic and inspirational change to a very desperate world.

The Verdict
This is a ‘must see’ film not only because of its artistic quality but because of its inspirational excellence.   

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 28th May 2015
Rating: M – Contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes
Duration: 100 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Deirdre O'Kane, Sarah Greene, Gloria Cramer Curtis
Director: Stephen Bradley (Boy Eats Girl, Sweetly Barrett)

The Extras
The Vietnamese children cast in the film have been or are currently being supported by The Christina Noble Children's foundation.

Christina Noble was given the script before filming and only requested two lines to be changed as she believed they wouldn't be something she would say.

Deirdre O'Kane shadowed Christina Noble at her foundation in Vietnam for two weeks before filming.

The idea of the film came from Deirdre O'Kane who hosted events for The Christina Noble Foundation as a stand-up comedian for several years. Deirdre became friends with Christina and her husband Stephen Bradley began to write the script the later directed the film.