Biography, Drama Rated: PG-13 142 min

How much do we really know about the patron saint of immigrants? This fictionalized biopic fills in many of the details as it tells her compelling tale. Arriving in New York City in 1889 to help the thousands of Italian immigrants already in the city, Francesca Cabrini, in poor health herself, is greeted by disease, crime and impoverished children. With broken English, she soon sets off on a seemingly impossible mission to convince New York’s mayor to secure housing and healthcare for society’s most vulnerable. Cabrini uses her wits and her genius for problem-solving to build a revolutionary healthcare system that eventually included 67 institutions, from schools, camps and orphanages to hospitals, shelters and chapels. Shot entirely in Buffalo, this visually breathtaking film stars Italian actors Cristiana Dell’Anna as Cabrini and Giancarlo Giannini, familiar to fans of the most recent James Bond films, as Pope Leo XIII. John Lithgow, in an uncharacteristically dour role, plays the fictional Mayor Gould. The real mayor of NYC in 1889? A man named Hugh Grant (no kidding).

“Cabrini’s story is rather absorbing and the film offers a lushly mounted portrait of life in 1880s New York, when immigration was just as much of a contentious issue as it is today.” — Leslie Felperin, The Guardian
“Its visual splendor is matched by the strong moral convictions and absence of cynicism that characterized many movies of the 1940s, when Catholic heroes were all over the screen.” — Kyle Smith, The Wall Street Journal
directed by
Alejandro Monteverde
written by
Rod Barr, Alejandro Monteverde
Cristiana Dell'Anna, Giancarlo Giannini, John Lithgow, David Morse
United States