Published on March 7th, 2024 | by Natalie Salvo

Cabrini Film Review

Cabrini Film Review Natalie Salvo

Summary: The inspiring true story about the making of a saint. Cabrini was an incredible Italian-American whose name deserves to be on everyone’s lips.



Francesca Cabrini may not be a name on everyone’s lips… but the biopic, ‘Cabrini’ looks set to change all that. The film tells her-story, as it is a look at the incredible life of a Catholic woman who would become America’s first ever saint.

Alejandro Monteverde directs this epic. And this Mexican filmmaker is no stranger to fictionalising real-life events. He is also no stranger to making films about the plight of poor children (just look at ‘Sound of Freedom’ about human trafficking). Monteverde is certainly very good at making movies that brim with empathy. And Cabrini embodies empathy in every sense of the word.

Saint Francis (expertly played by Cristiana Dell’Anna) would dedicate her life to helping vulnerable people including orphaned children and the sick, even though she was frail and unwell herself. She would encounter many setbacks along the way. But Cabrini pressed on, along with her fellow nuns to provide kindness and love in a heartless world.

The film centres predominantly on the period in the late 19th century when Cabrini initially went to live in America. It was a time when women were not allowed in the Italian parliament and some new immigrants to America – especially the Italians – were treated like filth. But nevertheless, she persisted. Cabrini would prevail against all odds, going up against some very powerful men like: Pope Leo XIII (Giancarlo Giannini ‘Quantum of Solace’), Mayor Gould (John Lithgow) and Archbishop Corrigan David Morse.

Cabrini is an inspiring woman. She is determined and passionate in helping protect the vulnerable and the poor at a time when social services were almost nonexistent. Her missionary work resulted in the opening of many orphanages and hospitals internationally. This 145-minute film may be a little on the long side but it describes some of her amazing feats (and there are others like those ones that got her canonised that didn’t even make the cut!)

The visuals of this film include many subdued tones that perfectly capture the grime and filth of this historic period. The story by Rod Barr unfolds at a nice pace and keeps you absorbed. Cabrini is someone who should be the patron saint of International Women’s Day (the date of this release), as she will appeal to fans of Natasha Lester’s books about courageous women making it in a man’s world. Fans of the film, ‘Brooklyn’ will also enjoy this story of an immigrant underdog who makes good in her adopted homeland.

Cabrini is a heartwarming look at the power of love and service. The film seamlessly transitions between Italian and English scenes to provide an authentic, immigrant’s story that will still resonate with audiences today. Ultimately this is all about a beautiful soul with a heart of gold and a steely conviction to fight for what’s right. Amen.

About the Author'

Natalie is a Sydney-based writer and lover of all things music, food, photography comedy, art, theatre. You can find her digging in crates at good record stores.

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