×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Courage to Love

Vanessa Williams is looking for a higher love in Lifetime's take on the life and times of saintly New Orleans church lady Henriette Delille. Strong point of "The Courage to Love," exec produced by Williams, is its lavish re-creation of 19th century Louisiana. Pic comes up short, however, in the character development and dialogue departments.

With:
Henriette Delille - Vanessa Williams Gerard Gaultier - Gil Bellows Julie Gadin - Karen Williams Marie Alicot - Lisa Bronwyn Moore Father Rousselon - David La Haye Cecelia Delille - Cynda Williams Pouponne - Diahann Carroll Jean Baptiste - Stacy Keach Jacques - Eddie "Bo" Smith With: Graeme Somerville, Kevin Jubinville, Susannah Hoffman, Jean-Louis Roux, Lise Roy, Raven Dauda

Vanessa Williams is looking for a higher love in Lifetime’s take on the life and times of saintly New Orleans church lady Henriette Delille. Strong point of “The Courage to Love,” exec produced by Williams, is its lavish re-creation of 19th century Louisiana. Pic comes up short, however, in the character development and dialogue departments.

Tori Ann Johnson’s story takes place in pre-Civil War-era New Orleans, when wealthy French and Spanish men often courted women of color and fathered their children without marrying them. When we first meet the strong-willed Henriette, she has begun to question a society in which a white man, like her father (Stacy Keach), is never allowed to marry the black mother of his children (an elegant Diahann Carroll).

Not one to follow conventions blindly, our heroine dedicates her life to teaching the underprivileged children of the city how to read and becomes one of the first women of color to take an active part in the white-run church. She even rejects the romantic advances of a young French doctor (Gil Bellows), who offers to marry her and whisk her away to a better life in France, in order to follow a spiritual path.

And therein lies the problem: Williams’ portrayal of Henriette is too chaste and noble. The beautiful star of the project, whose mannerisms and language are a little too modern, comes across as too much of an ice queen. Interesting tales about people who do the work of God often feature welcome visits from Satan or his seductive pawns.

Gil Bellows, who has mastered a believable French accent (“I want to be wiz you”), only gets to hold hands and dance briefly with the object of his affections. If there had been indications of a sensual connection, the stakes would be higher and the plot more interesting to follow.

In 1989, Delille became an African American woman whose cause for canonization has been recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Tech credits are magnifique.

The Courage to Love

Lifetime; Mon. Jan. 24, 9 p.m.

Production: A correction was made to these credits on Nov. 21, 2006. Filmed in Quebec by Motion Intl. and distributed by New Star Television for Lifetime. Executive producers, Vanessa Williams, Ron Ziskin, Emily Gerson Saines, Jacques Methe, Gord Haines; director, Kari Skogland; writer, Toni Ann Johnson; producers, Jean Desormeaux, Stephane Reichel.

Crew: Director of photography, Jonathan Freeman; production designer, costume designer, Linda Matheson; art director, Jean-Francois Campeau; editor, Isabelle Levesque; music, Christopher Dedrick; story, Phyllis Beech; casting, Claire Walker, Nadia Rona/Elite. 120 MIN.

Cast: Henriette Delille - Vanessa Williams Gerard Gaultier - Gil Bellows Julie Gadin - Karen Williams Marie Alicot - Lisa Bronwyn Moore Father Rousselon - David La Haye Cecelia Delille - Cynda Williams Pouponne - Diahann Carroll Jean Baptiste - Stacy Keach Jacques - Eddie "Bo" Smith With: Graeme Somerville, Kevin Jubinville, Susannah Hoffman, Jean-Louis Roux, Lise Roy, Raven Dauda

More TV

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content