After a strong festival run which saw the film win numerous audience awards, Stephen Bradley's "Noble" will arrive in select theaters May 8, 2015. Based on extraordinary true events, it's easy to see why the film has already captivated audiences across America. In typical biopic fashion, it's an inspiring portrait of a great historical figure.
"Noble" tells the story of Christina Noble, an Irishwoman who overcame a rough childhood to become one of the biggest supporters of children's rights through the establishment of the Christina Noble Children's Foundation. The film takes us on her incredible journey from her days in a Dublin orphanage through her subsequent struggles as a young woman, and eventually to Vietnam in the 1980s. Trusting in her belief in faith and destiny, Noble found herself in the Southeast Asian country as a result of a vision she received in a dream one night. Not sure of her exact purpose, she ends up finds her calling on the streets of Vietnam, where she decides to fight to save the many disadvantaged homeless children. Unsurprisingly, she is initially met with some opposition by the locals, but the film ultimately shows the power of courage and faith in overcoming obstacles and achieving great things.
With a name like Noble and life-changing events initiated by seemingly divine intervention, Bradley's film would appear to fall perfectly into the trap of the "white savior" narrative. Early scenes of Noble defiantly taking a random pair of Vietnamese girls off the street and treating them to clothes and food certainly do little to dispel that concern too. As we go deeper into Noble's life story however, any cynicism is gradually alleviated through flashbacks to her own hardscrabble upbringing. We get to see harrowing scenes of her separation from her siblings at a young age, as well as unfortunate instances of abuse as she got older. As a result, it establishes a genuine feeling of kinship with the unfortunate Vietnamese children she aids.
In this regard, one of the more compelling aspects of the film is its performances. Noble is played with plucky determination by three talented actresses - Gloria Cramer Curtis as a child, Sarah Greene as a young adult and Deirde O'Kane in the present day - and they give us a thorough grasp of her character. Most notably, we see how spirituality was the driving force in her life that fueled her tenacity, rather than keeping her docile.
Ultimately, "Noble" may be constructed like a conventional biopic, but it succeeds on the merit of its great message. Through the life story and work of Christina Noble, we see the capacity of human beings to do good and fight for others, regardless of your own background. Surprises may be few and far between, but this uplifting film will warm your heart.