In pre-Civil War New Orleans, Vanessa Williams protrays the beautiful African-American daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and his kept mistress. Fighting her family’s wishes, society’s rules and rampant racism. she rejects the traditions of an arranged marriage and sets out on a journey fraught with danger and forbidden desires. This inspiring true story of heroism and love illuminates the extraordinary life of Henriette Dalille, the first African-American Saint.
The story focuses on Henriette Delille (Vanessa Williams) in pre-Civil War New Orleans and she is a kind woman with plenty of spunk and backbone. As the African-American daughter of a rich plantation owner named Jean-Baptiste (Stacy Keach) and his African American mistress Pouponne (Diahann Carroll), she rebels against the prejudice of the day and society’s rules. One of the unjust rules is that blacks are not allowed to read.
Henriette soon finds a calling she never dreamed of, helping the sick at a local Catholic parish and encouraging them. A potential suitor, Dr. Gerard, a Frenchman, takes a liking to Henriette and soon she finds herself having to choose between marriage or a life of servitude to God.
This film features realistic drama, including the prejudices of the day, and a wealthy man sleeps with a twelve year old slave girl and impregnates her (though the scene is simply a discussion about it happening and nothing graphic is shown). The people around her are shocked to learn of this and support the girl and speak out against the man. By film’s end, the man has appropriately been humbled. Due to a few mature scenes like this, we are recommending the film for ages twelve plus. The film features scenes which include praying, following the call of God, caring for the sick, and other commendable themes. In one scene a black man saves a white man’s life, which reinforces the potential of people of all races accomplishing noble feats.
We are therefore pleased to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this DVD. It is inspiring and remarkable!