Cook review: ‘Cabrini’ is a beautiful film about a beautiful soul

Cook review: ‘Cabrini’ is a beautiful film about a beautiful soul
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What a beautiful movie about a beautiful soul.

Cabrini” is the latest from Angel Studios, which was behind last year’s hit “The Sound of Freedom.”

Directed by “Sound” helmer Alejandro Monteverde, who also co-wrote this screenplay, this is a biopic about the real-life Francesca Cabrini, who was the first United States citizen to be canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

You may never have heard of this remarkable woman, played by the wonderful Cristiana Dell’Anna, who is shown here in the 19th Century. In New York, orphans abound in the streets, where we see a boy named Paolo (Frederico Ielapi) as he beseeches anyone who will listen to help his ailing mother. He pushes her in a wheelbarrow because she is too weak to walk on her own.

In a kind of “Oliver Twist” development, Paolo is taken in by the leader of a street gang.

Elsewhere, in Rome, Francesca Cabrini is a nun who wants to build a chain of orphanages, and asks the Pope for permission. He dispatches her to New York, where she is assigned to help Italian immigrants.

Cabrini, who has a frail constitution, is horrified by what she sees in New York, where she arrives with seven other sisters. Even the rats have it better than the Italian families in the Five Points district, she laments.

Archbishop Corrigan (David Morse, an under-used actor who is terrific here) is sympathetic to Cabrini, but the mayor (John Lithgow) isn’t so kind.

As Cabrini begins to help the orphans, she makes the acquaintance of a prostitute (Romana M. Vergano,) who wants to help Cabrini’s cause despite the threats of a pimp.

The film is beautifully shot and deserves recognition for its gorgeous cinematography. It’s also well-acted and engaging – it might motivate you to go out and do something good in the world.

3 ½ stars

Running time: Two hours and 20 minutes.

Rated: PG-13 for violence, foul language, and scenes of death.

Only in theaters beginning March 8. For ticket information, visit here.

Watch the trailer here.

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