The Courage to Love (TV Movie 2000) Poster

(2000 TV Movie)

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Good job, inspiring fact-based story
vchimpanzee6 September 2005
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.
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rox73124 January 2000
I just finished watching this TV Lifetime Channel movie. Gil Bellows did an excellent job acting, however, his accent was a little off. But a good try. It's refreshing to see Bellows move into other acting venues.

This is basically a tale of one woman's (Vanessa Williams) rebellion against tradition and racism in the south. In a time when it is against the law to marry outside your race, Henriette (Williams), and Gerard (Bellows), fall in love and face trials of the law of the land of the day. They plan on moving to France where Gerard is from, where they can marry without any restrictions. Until Henriette's sister falls sick and they are forced to stay in the states. Henriette starts fighting with all her might for the rights of her people and her place in the church. I don't want to give away the ending so I will end this here.
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Plot Summary
viewerschoice21 January 2002
Set in 19th century New Orleans during a period of religious and political unrest, "The Courage To Love" tells the heroic life story of Henriette Delille, a woman of color who rejects the hypocrisy of class, race and tradition.<p>As racial and political tensions from the North and South infiltrate the isolated French community, Henriete must choose between the powerful love of one man and a divine calling to serve the less fortunate.
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I remember this movie.
Chisom Okeke28 February 2014
I didn't exactly know about this movie cause I was 4 when it came out and I'm 17 now. My mom got it from a friend and at first, i had only seen the beginning and never saw it to the end. That is because history movies sometimes gave me a creepy feeling cause it's like I'm going to a time and culture way different from mine and I feel like I'm there in the movie. I later saw the movie when I was older i think like 12 or something. I'VE BEEN IN LOVE WITH THIS MOVIE SINCE AND OFTEN TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT! Vanessa Williams did an awesome job, of course. The costumes, the scenery, the people, everything drew me in. I'm so glad my mom got the movie.
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Enjoyed this movie
heason31 January 2012
Came across this movie a few years back while looking for stories to watch during black history month. I have been wondering how I had missed it because there are a few other actors I recognize. I am not a follower of or hater of Vanessa Williams but this role was a great one for her. I know she is versatile with singing, theater, television and movies but I had yet to see her in something I liked. This is a great depiction of the period and choices of that time. I've always wanted to visit New Orleans and have seen various movies about its history. Ms. Williams did the role justice. I'm just sorry so many other people haven't seen it.
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An outstanding film, based on a true story which very few have heard, which is a tragedy in itself
Amy Adler28 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Henriette Delille (Vanessa Williams) is a Creole, of European and African ancestry, living in early 19th century New Orleans. In those times, whites and blacks are not permitted to wed but, instead, live together in a common law marriage, arranged by a practice called placage. Creole young women are "placed together" with a white gentleman of her parents choosing. This occurs at a grand ball and the man takes future care of his "wife" by giving her a nice house and money for any children. Indeed, Henriette's parents (Diahann Carroll and Stacy Keach) lived happily for many years under this system and her older sister has been fortunate to meet an outstanding partner, too. But, after Mr. Deliile leaves the family to marry a white lady and live with his new spouse, Henriette doesn't know if this is what she really wants in life. Already, as a devoted Catholic, Henriette teaches slave children to read and does other good works for her local parish. Perhaps she has a future as a nun. Nevertheless, the beautiful young woman goes to the ball, where her intended mate seems kind and considerate. Henriette also meets a young French doctor, Gerard (Gil Bellows) who helped her once with a sick patient on the street. This confuses the young woman even more, for she is drawn to him decidedly. Therefore, she refuses the arranged placage and intensifies her charitable works while still meeting the doctor in formal settings from time to time. Ultimately, will Henriette accept Gerard's proposal and go to France, where they can be legally married? Or, will she stay in New Orleans, with family, friends, and parishoners who need her? Also, as a black woman, will she be allowed to take vows, if this is her decision? This outstanding and beautiful film, based on the tale of the true Henriette Delille, is a head-and-heart grabber. Few know her story but she is now the first African American saint and was a most admirable woman. As Henriette, Williams has never looked lovelier or performed more touchingly. Keach, Carroll, Bellows and all of the other fine cast members do great work, too. The re-creation of the time period, through sets and costumes, is fantastic while the script and solid direction have produced a very entertaining, enlightening, and praise-worthy movie. Film fans should look for it without delay.
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Nearly Invisible Man
nytebyte17 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As I watch this film, it is interesting to see how much it marginalizes Black men. The film spends its time showing how powerless the most visible Black man in it is (save for an heroic moment). For much of the film, the other Black men (and dark-skinned Black women) in the film are way in the background, barely visible.

Vanessa Williams' character was strong and sympathetic. The viewer can easily identify and sympathize with her. There are also some fairly visible and three-dimensional support characters who are light-skinned, and some White characters of some warmth and dignity. But 99% of the Black males in this film are nothing but invisible men. Voiceless shadows in the background, of no consequence. Such a horrible flaw, but anything but unusual in the mainstream media.
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Vanessa Williams is so beautiful!
jordanswifelfw18 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Vanessa Williams is wonderful in this movie it is simple but complex at the same time. I think she was very believable and I cant wait to watch it again. She kinda scared me in the part were she got caught in the fire but they got her out and she was calm. Watch this movie it is really good. The whole movie keeps you wondering is this going to happen is that going to happen. At times it can be really sad and hurt you cause it gets you so into the moment like you are really there. I think she always does good in all her movies. I know she could probably get any part she wants because she can change into so many things like I seen her in Broadway and she played a witch as beautiful as she is that was good like everything else she does Vanessa Williams is the stuff.
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Why you???
ziggybe7716 January 2018
Heather, Why did you start producing? Nothing is going anywhere. You had great writing skills? What happen? Anyway, a lot of crazy rumors out there about you. I had a bad taste in my mouth from all the writing hassles. I'm taking legal action for material that was stolen. GOOD LUCK. I feel bad for you and how things panned out for us. At least, I stayed in a steady profession. Ziggy
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A good rich tale of Vanessa Williams' character!
Irishmoviereviewer7 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say, I really enjoyed this film! I'm so impressed that they got Vanessa Williams to star in this, she's just so beautiful and a talented actress! I really liked how she wears fashionable clothes like the green dress she wore at the beginning, it does really match her eye color!

This film really does tell of the time when blacks and whites are separated from each other. It really does give a lump in your throat on how the whites were cruel to the black people and made them slaves. I hated the scene where the church of Henriette Delille had built for the poor slaves, was on fire. It makes you extremely angry, why were people that cruel? What was even more shocking, the 'master' raped his 12 year old slave. In my opinion on the scene he died, I wouldn't even bless the pervert, I wouldn't even touch him for what he did! I nearly cried in that scene, it makes me sick. Unfortunately there's more rapists out there today in this godforsaken world, I wish we lived a better world than this!

Anyways let's move onto something positive, I loved how Vanessa Williams and Gil Bellows' characters relationship blossomed. I honestly wished in the end that Henriette went to France with her lover Dr. Gerard Gaultier. They were so made for each other, I don't understand why she didn't choose him. You can see that they loved each other 110%! I hate how movies don't show happy endings but anyways, at least she is helping the poor people to live and get them out of slavery.

I loved this movie, I give this 8/10 because of seeing Vanessa Williams on this!
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I Hated It!
dahcsknab6 January 2008
Caught this movie on the tube on a Sunday. I thought it was so bad I looked it up on IMDb to see what others thought of it. I was not surprised at the amount of silly people who enjoyed this fluff. I was however surprised when I looked into the comments to read the Hated It categories only to find that their were none. I was shocked at this; I always look at the hated it's as their are always those who hate a movie no matter how good it is. Somehow this movie made it through unscathed by the haters I say nay to that and proclaim proudly that I HATE THIS MOVIE! I know I should go into detail about why I hate this movie but to do so would only grant this movie more respect than it deserves.
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