Noble

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Noble Movie Poster Image
Inspirational true story features many mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 100 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include courage, empathy, and integrity. Never give up, be persistent, don't take no for an answer. Stand up for those who are weak and demand justice. Children everywhere deserve education, health care, a chance to just be a kid, and, most importantly, love. You can make a big difference; you may have to start small, but don't let that stop you from doing something to help and then building on it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Christina Noble is a real person, and the movie is based on her life, which has been dedicated to helping street children, particularly in Vietnam but in other places around the world, too. She's a great role model for never giving up, even when things are darkest. She has tremendous perseverance and never loses her faith even when it's severely tested. She champions the rights of children to education and health care and works tirelessly to see her projects through. She stands up to authority to ask for what's right, and she confronts bad guys and demands justice.

Violence

A woman coughs up blood; spatters are briefly shown. A woman is grabbed, kidnapped, and gagged; her kidnapper uses sexual innuendo; she struggles, and after a fade to black she wakes up somewhere else with torn clothes. A man takes a girl who's about 10 up to his hotel room; rape is mentioned, and after a lot of suspense and tension the girl is rescued, the man is shoved to the ground, and eventually he's arrested. A few slaps and an attack with a broom and bucket. A woman's cut and bruised eye is shown over a few minutes as she discusses how her husband will come after her if she leaves. Intense vintage news footage shows bombing, explosions, displaced people, ruined buildings, and children wandering alone in the aftermath. Mention that people in extreme poverty sometimes abandon babies with birth defects in the garbage. Some infants and toddlers with birth defects shown briefly, including one baby with a bloody bandage on its head. Photos of very young girls are discovered in a pedophile's drawer; we see a few in which they're fully clothed, but the person who finds them reacts with horror to some that aren't shown. An extremely drunk man has violent outbursts and destroys things in his home. A teen victim of rape has a baby.

Sex

Older teens in pajamas get into bed together and start to kiss. Brief scene of an adulterous couple under sheets simulating sex; no body parts are shown. 

Language

"Bitch" a couple of times. "Jesus" as exclamation. A vulgar gesture equivalent to the middle finger in the U.S. a couple of times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Historical and cultural settings (Ireland in the '50s and '60s, Vietnam in the '80s) show a lot of background people smoking. The protagonist smokes once and mentions later that she quit. A central character drinks heavily; his drunken behavior is shown along with violent outbursts. Several scenes take place in bars and pubs. Mention that a discussion would go better with whiskey. The protagonist has a glass of wine in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Noble is an inspirational true story about a woman who overcomes tremendous hardship of her own and dedicates her life to helping street children in Vietnam and around the world. There's nothing graphic or explicit, but mature themes include rape, child sex trafficking, parental death and separation, and the harsh realities of extreme poverty. Profanity includes "bitch" and "Jesus." There's some smoking and drinking. A central character drinks heavily; his drunken behavior is shown along with violent outbursts. The messages are ultimately uplifting and positive, and it's a great way to get teens thinking about how much of a difference one person can make.

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What's the story?

Christina NOBLE grew up in Ireland in the 1950s. Her mother died when she was very young, and her family was broken up by the courts when her alcoholic father was unable to cope. But that wasn't the end of tragedy and hardship for Christina. Through all the difficulties of her teen and young adult years, she was haunted by the war in Vietnam and felt called to go there one day to help out. After the children were grown, she finally got her chance and arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in 1989. There she immediately felt a connection to the hundreds of children she saw living on the streets and became determined to find a way to help them. But to do that she first had to battle government bureaucracy, the indifference of the wealthy, the child sex trade, and plenty of people who resented a foreigner's interference. What she manages to accomplish against all that and more is nothing short of amazing.

Is it any good?

This is an inspirational story of an amazing woman who has overcome a great deal and made the world a better place. The supporting cast is strong, and the story remains compelling and advances nicely even as it moves back and forth in time. Minor weaknesses include an uneven performance from Deirdre O'Kane as Christina in the '80s -- she sometimes seems not quite fully engaged with her character -- and a few scenes that become a little too preachy and blunt getting their message across. Noble ends on a very uplifting note, and families with mature teens will enjoy watching and talking together about Christina, her life, and what we can learn from her.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about things that test your faith, in religion, in society, in your friends and family. What did you think about Christina's relationship with her god in Noble, especially the way she prayed? To whom, or to what, do you turn when things get tough?

  • Gerry says some people don't want to donate because it's a small drop in the bucket. What does that mean? What makes helping people or giving to charity worthwhile? Does what you give have to make a huge difference?

  • What do you admire about Christina Noble? What can you do to be more like her?

  • How do the characters in Noble demonstrate empathy and perseverance? What about integrity and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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