Saint Ralph (2004)
August 1st, 2007 by Maxim · No Comments · 3,718 Views
1954. 14-year old Ralph is about to become an orphan: he doesn’t have a father and his mother is seriously ill. As a penance for sinful behavior at his Ontario Roman Catholic school’s pool he is assigned to a cross-country running team. He is desperate to save his – nothing would help but a miracle. When a teacher in the school mentions that “if anyone from his team won the Boston Marathon it would be a miracle”, the boy sees an opportunity. He makes a deal with God: if he can win the Boston Marathon his mother will get better. Ralph obsessively prepares to the marathon with the help and training, both physical and spiritual, of his friends: a ex-marathon runner priest, a nurse that cares after his mother in the hospital, and his girlfriend.
The movie is both touching and funny. In the foreground is the sexual comedy, while the fact that the boy’s mother is dying keeps the viewer aching to find out how boy’s efforts to produce a miracle will turn out. And it’s not going to be easy: Ralph is only a few months to prepare for the marathon; the headmaster of the school father Fitzpatrick believes that producing miracles is blasphemy and he also wants to give Ralph into a foster home; Ralph’s father is dead, mother is dying, and he’s about to be evicted from his house, so he has to pretend he is not an orphan and he lives with his grandparents; he has to keep his faith and “be pure”.
One of the most inspiring points of the movie is that one doesn’t have to be a saint in order to produce miracles.
It would be a shame if Ralph didn’t win the marathon and his mother died. To win and revive his mother would be too big of a stretch, too unbelievable. So the ending was only logical, but I really kept my fists clenched throughout the second half of the movie – from the point when Ralph began his training and to the ending.
It’s not a masterpiece and I probably wouldn’t watch it second time for at least a few years, but it was fun, moving and joyous experience.
May not be appropriate for children under 12 because of some sexual content and brief partial nudity.
Trivia: The actual winner of the 1954 Boston Marathon was Veikko Karvonen from Finland. His finish time was 2:20:39 (from IMDb).
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