Cabrini parents guide

Cabrini Parent Guide

This is a profoundly inspiring film that celebrates the power of love and the inalienable dignity of every human being.

Overall A-

Theaters: In 1889 Catholic nun Frances Cabrini arrived in America from Italy with plans to establish an "empire of hope" in the form of hospitals and orphanages.

Release date March 8, 2024

Violence C+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B+
Substance Use C

Why is Cabrini rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Cabrini PG-13 for thematic material, some violence, language and smoking.

Run Time: 145 minutes

Parent Movie Review

“We can serve our weakness or we can serve our purpose. Not both.” These are the words of Mother Frances Cabrini (Cristiana Dell’Anna), a Catholic nun who dreams of caring for the sick and orphaned in every nation. She knows her purpose and is determined to establish orphanages in China and then sweep across the world.

Mother Cabrini also knows her weakness: she has badly scarred lungs and is only given a few years to live. Her brief future doesn’t deter her. To the contrary, it focuses her attention on the tasks she feels called to perform. After she submits ten failed applications to the Vatican, the Pope (Giancarlo Giannini) finally agrees to let her launch the first female international missionary order on one condition - she must begin in New York City; not China.

Arriving in America in 1889, the nuns are horrified at the poverty and death that are omnipresent in the slums teeming with Italian immigrants. Determined to save the children from hunger and abuse, Mother Cabrini sets to work establishing an orphanage, only to face an uncooperative Archbishop (David Morse) and fiercely combative Mayor (John Lithgow). As she fights the twin evils of bigotry and misogyny, she will need every ounce of her courage, passion, and unyielding determination.

Cabrini is a profoundly inspiring film. Too often, our cinematic heroes use superpowers to destroy infrastructure and fight bad guys but in Mother Cabrini we see a far more relatable heroine; one who nurtures relationships and builds charitable institutions. Weak and frail though she may be, she is indefatigable in her mission to love, shelter, and nurture the most oppressed people in her world. If you believe in the inalienable dignity of every human being, you will cheer on her quest to see all immigrants treated with respect. If your religious or ethical convictions focus on treating people with compassion, you will be touched by her determination to care for and bring together those despised by society. You don’t have to be Catholic or even Christian to enjoy this film, but believers will hear the echo of Jesus’s words as they watch Mother Cabrini, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Uplifting as this film may be, parents should be aware of the PG-13 rating. The story’s gritty setting leads to scenes of physical violence and death, with injury detail on screen. The violence is neither gory nor glamorized, but it is a factor for parents to keep in mind. The script also features several ethnic slurs, which may be distressing to some viewers, although they are clearly shown to be hurtful and unacceptable.

In a world increasingly polarized and consumed with animosity, it’s a relief to watch a true story that celebrates selflessness, compassion, courage, determination, faith, and simple goodness. With most movies celebrating violence and conflict, it’s a minor miracle to find one that shows the power of love.

Directed by Alejandro Monteverde. Starring Cristiana Dell'Anna, John Lithgow, David Morse. Running time: 145 minutes. Theatrical release March 8, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Cabrini

Rating & Content Info

Why is Cabrini rated PG-13? Cabrini is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic material, some violence, language and smoking.

Violence:   A woman dies as her child tries to obtain medical care. There are several scenes where dead bodies are visible on screen. There are repeated flashbacks of a woman’s near-drowning as a child. A pimp threatens to harm a group of women. A pimp hits a woman; later he beats her, leaving cuts on her face. A man strikes a child in the face. A child points a gun at a man, the gun goes off inadvertently. An explosion in a plant injures and kills men: some are seen with bloody injuries. A woman fatally stabs a man in self-defense. People commit an act of arson, endangering the lives of several residents in the building. Police attack peaceful festival-goers for political reasons. A brick wrapped in a threatening message is thrown through a hospital window.
Sexual Content:   There are brief references to prostitution.
Profanity: There are two minor profanities in the script. There is repeated use of ethnic slurs geared at people of Italian, Jewish, Irish, and Polish extraction. A woman is referred to as a “whore”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Intoxicated adults are seen. A main character drinks alcohol after coming to an agreement with a foe. A woman smokes cigarettes. Men smoke cigars.

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Cabrini Parents' Guide

Mother Cabrini says “The world is too small for what I intend to do”. Do you have any big dreams? What would you need to do in order to achieve them? What does Mother Cabrini do to make her dreams come true? What obstacles does she overcome? What keeps her going despite the challenges she faces?

“It takes a lot of courage to become who we’re meant to be” says Mother Cabrini. Who do you think you’re meant to be? What do you think you’ll need to do to become that kind of person? What are you willing to do?

For more information about the real life Maria Francesca Cabrini, you can rea the following:

Wikipedia: Frances Xavier Cabrini

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Mother Cabrini


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Mother Teresa is the obvious follow-up if you find Mother Cabrini’s story inspiring. Teaching at a school in India, Mother Teresa was determined to found a religious order dedicated to caring for the poorest of the poor.

William Wilberforce’s Christian faith propelled him into politics, where he used his position to end the slave trade in the British Empire. His tale is told in the excellent film, Amazing Grace.