6 September 2005 | vchimpanzee
Good job, inspiring fact-based story
Henriette, the mixed-race daughter of Jean Baptiste and Pouponne, teaches in a parish school in New Orleans. Some of her students are children of slaves, and it is not clear whether the masters have given permission.
When Dr. Gerard Gaultier comes to take care of the poor of New Orleans, it's not hard to see what will happen. Even though he is white, he seems to like Henriette right from the start, though the question is how far a romance between them can actually go.
Among the problems in Henriette's life: Her father abandoned her mother long ago and is getting married. Her mother is sick. Her sister Cecilia is pregnant by a white man who seems to want to marry her but can't in this environment. Henriette tries to fit into upper-class white society but is never really accepted.
Frank Morgan is a cruel slave owner who treats girls as young as 12 as mistresses, and dislikes having to share his church with blacks.
Henriette wants to become part of a convent, which most people believe is a ridiculous idea. She is chastized, along with others who work with her, for wearing what looks like a habit. But she is very determined to start a church of her own.
Vanessa Williams did a good job here. I wouldn't say spectacular, but she effectively showed the drive and devotion of Henriette. Stacy Keach and Diahann Carroll were very good as her parents, and Carroll had a real challenge as her character's health went downhill.
Eddie Bo Smith Jr. had the standout performance here as Jacques, one of Frank's slaves, a nice man who eventually becomes bitter, wondering if things will ever get any better.
I personally found this movie kind of boring at first, too much of a 'chick flick', but the inspirational story makes it work.