Moving, inspiring tale

It may sound peculiar but minutes into the start of Cabrini, I suddenly lost my appetite for my chocolate-covered hokey pokey ice cream.

The ice cream was delicious, but somehow it seemed inappropriate, even disrespectful to keep eating it.

There on the screen was an immigrant boy dealing with injustice, bigotry and a life-or-death situation.

There I was indulging in what would have been a luxury well out of his means if chocolate-covered hokey pokey ice creams were available in 19th-century New York.

I did manage to force the treat down but only just.

I can not remember being impacted so powerfully by a movie in its first five minutes.

However, the drama and pathos continued to build as the central character of the movie, Catholic nun Mother Cabrini is introduced.

The movie tells the true story of Cabrini who is headmistress of an orphanage in Lombardy, Italy.

She dreams of going to China to look after orphans and has written to Pope Leo XIII for leave to do that many times but is repeatedly turned down.

Finally she is allowed an audience with him and impressed by her dedication, Leo persuades her she is needed in New York to work with Italian immigrants.

She rises to the challenge and sets off with a small band of nuns.

The women start work in a slum called Five Points, where the lives of the nuns are in constant danger and orphans live underground in the sewers.

The movie features a strong cast of Italian actors and actresses led by Cristiana Dell’Anna, who is brilliant as Cabrini, and well supported by Romana Maggiora Vegano, who plays the part of an immigrant prostitute, Vittoria.

The film makes good use of imagery to tell the story, interesting camera angles to pique the curiosity of the audience and the music score adds to the atmosphere.

This is no sugar-coated religious tale. It is a story of courage, determination to overcome huge obstacles and a desire to make life better for others.

I recommend this movie but suggest taking a box of tissues and buying popcorn instead of an ice cream.