Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 9:55 am | Mostly Cloudy 70º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Noble’

3 Stars — Compassionate

True stories make some of the best cinema, as seen in this cinematic biography of Christina Noble. Appropriately named for the life she depicted, Noble walks with this woman through a devastating childhood that prepared her for an exemplary ministry, showing compassion for children like herself.

The only difference between her life and the lives she helps is that she lived on the streets of Ireland and the children she is called to serve live in Vietnam.

Directed and written by Stephen Bradley and staring Deirdre O’Kane in the tile role, the film is moving without the sentimentalism often found in such biographies.

The account begins when Christina (played by Gloria Cramer Curtis as a child) is the oldest of six children in the home of an alcoholic family.

Having discovered that music sooths the drunken rampages of her father, Christina dreams of one day being a professional musician.

The dream ends at age 10, when her mother dies and her father neglects Christina and her siblings. Christina tries to provide for the brood by begging and scavenging on the streets.

The authorities soon discover their distress and the children are taken from their father and purposefully separated into different institutions. Christina ends up in an orphanage run by nuns.  

What is fascinating is that though Christina is a Christian and has a real relationship with Jesus, she knows the nuns do not represent him. It is this natural spiritual wisdom that guides not only her life but also the true purpose for her existence.

Asking God to make sense out of the sorrows and disappointments of her life, as a young adult she is given a dream to one day go to Saigon to care for the children of the street just as she had been. This is the story of a woman accomplishing a God-given dream.

The lessons of the film are many, and Christina’s life is in fact a noble expression of natural Christian wisdom and love.

She discovers that God does not waste her pain. Instead he uses her experiences to provoke empathy and provide wisdom in helping the children who have found themselves abandoned by family and society.

Christina discovers that life is seldom without sorrow but God is with us in the sorrow. This is expressed directly when Christina is raped, becomes pregnant and the nuns take her son and give him to others to raise.

Overwhelmed with grief, she goes to the chapel to speak with God, explaining that God is the only one who understands because he also lost his son.

The victories that Christina experienced do not spoil the tale but rather make the experience of her journey all the more moving.

Beginning foundations in both Vietnam and Mongolia, the Christina Noble Foundation continues to bring wholeness into the broken lives of children.

That is truly a noble, Christian endeavor.


» What pain have you experienced that God is or could be using to bring His healing into this world? What are you doing or going to do with what you’ve experienced?

» The embarrassment of the Vietnam government about their street children is echoed in the various cities of our world. How do you think this embarrassment and subsequent cover-up keeps us from doing something decisive about the children who live on the streets? What can you do for the homeless children of our world?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is the retired pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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