4 Jun 2015

Noble - film review

From At The Movies, 7:50 pm on 4 June 2015

Directed by Stephen Bradley, starring Deirdre O'Kane.

Simon Morris reviews an Irish film Noble based on real-life philanthropist, Christina Noble. Does a great person automatically mean a great film?

Irish film Noble couldn’t be more accurately titled. The real-life Christina Noble set up a children’s foundation in Vietnam, tackling the desperate plight of street-kids there.

Born in the Fifties, she loved Doris Day, and would get up and sing Doris songs in cheerful Irish pubs at the drop of a hat. She lived in a Dublin slum with her ailing mother, her half a dozen siblings and her alcoholic father. She’s raped, gets pregnant, is taken over by nuns who then adopt out her baby with no prior warning.   

Is there no other Irish cliché to be tapped?

Many years later, Christina finds herself in Ho Chi Minh City on a visitor’s permit.  It’s the first unpredictable event in this story. She wanders the street gathering unattached children, and feeding them out of the goodness of her heart. Her travels take her to an under-funded city orphanage, and she takes the cause to the many Western businesses attracted by the opportunities in Vietnam.

It’s a great real-life story, of course, but that’s not quite the same as a real movie story. A movie story isn’t about good deeds. It’s about someone changing, and Christina is as plucky and noble at the end as she was, looking after her family, at the beginning.

Noble therefore is a terrific person, but a rather less impressive film.