11 user 1 critic

The Courage to Love (2000)

In 19th century New Orleans creole Henriette must choose between love and devotion to the church. Neither choice is going to be easy, as there is great opposition to her ideas of breaking traditions.


Kari Skogland




Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Williams ... Mother Henriette Delille
Gil Bellows ... Dr. Gerard Gaultier
Karen Williams Karen Williams ... Julie Gaudin
Lisa Bronwyn Moore ... Marie Alicot
David La Haye ... Father Rousselon
Cynda Williams ... Cecelia Delille
Diahann Carroll ... Pouponne
Stacy Keach ... Jean-Baptiste Delille
Eddie Bo Smith Jr. Eddie Bo Smith Jr. ... Jacques
Graeme Somerville Graeme Somerville ... Paul Cartier
Kevin Jubinville ... Frank Morgan
Susannah Hoffmann ... Anne Morgan
Jean-Louis Roux ... Bishop Blanc
Lise Roy ... Mother Superior
Raven Dauda ... Betsie


In 19th century New Orleans a new class of colored people has arisen. They are creoles, a result of relations between African-Americans and wealthy European people. Children are born, there is love, but marriage is out of the question. Colored people are still not considered equal. Henriette Delille is a very religious creole. The time she has she spends on educating, care and helping out in church. On the day her father Jean-Baptiste leaves her mother Pouponne to marry a white woman, Henriette is supposed to meet her arranged future 'caretaker' Paul Cartier. But she refuses him, defying every tradition and so bringing her mother to madness. She becomes friends with the French doctor Gerard Gaultier. He is in love with her and wants her to move to France, so they can be legally married. Henriette is torn apart by her feelings for Gerard and her devotion to the church. She must choose, but neither choice is going to be an easy one as there are people who greatly disapprove of ... Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a world of tradition, they dared to break the rules.


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Vanessa Williams parents are both African American. She traced her family history, on her fathers side, back to 1870, and discovered she had a mulatto grandfather that married a white woman. See more »

User Reviews

Good job, inspiring fact-based story
6 September 2005 | by vchimpanzeeSee all my reviews

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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Canada | USA



Release Date:

24 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Quadroon Ball See more »

Filming Locations:

Québec, Canada

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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