DRAMA; 1hr 41min
STARRING: Deidre O’Kane, Sarah Greene, Brendan Coyle
Saving the children: O’Kane
Irish children’s advocate Christina Noble (Gloria Cramaer Curtis as a little girl, Greene as a young woman, O’Kane later) is no stranger to hardship in writer-director Stephen Bradley’s acclamation of her punishing history. Bradley goes back and forth through Christina’s life: from early childhood in a 1940s and ’50s Dublin tenement, she is consigned to a Dickensian Catholic orphanage at age 10. She graduates from there as a teenager to sleeping rough and a pack rape that leaves her pregnant with a son she unwittingly signs over to adoption. Christina has three more children with her abusive husband (David Mumeni). But her life’s crowning work is with the street kids of Vietnam, for whom “Mama Tina” establishes the caring web of the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.
Bradley’s Christina is enterprising, persistent and feisty, with a pretty singing voice, a sustaining religious faith and the conviction that “There’s no such thing as can’t.” She’s an exceptional woman who deserves all the accolades any film-maker can come up with. As a life drama, Noble could have mined more emotive bases. But as the measure of a crusader, it scoops you up and holds you all the way.