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Saint Ralph (2004)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Sport  -  8 April 2005 (Canada)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,544 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 49 user | 46 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

Saint Ralph is the unlikely story of Ralph Walker, a ninth grader who outran everyone's expectations except his own in his bold quest of trying to win the 1954 Boston Marathon.

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Title: Saint Ralph (2004)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michael Kanev ...
Chester Jones
...
Father Fitzpatrick
...
Claire Collins
...
Hulk (as Chris Ploszczansky)
Paulette Sinclair ...
Secretary Roddy
...
Father George Hibbert
...
Emma Walker
...
Nurse Alice
Lubica Kucerova ...
Woman in Shower
Ben Gans ...
Senior Citizen #1
Jock McLeod ...
Senior Citizen #2
Jeff Baxter ...
Cattana
Daniel Karasik ...
Bolan
...
Mr. Karl
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Storyline

It's the 1953/54 school year at St. Magnus Catholic School in Hamilton, Ontario. Fourteen year old Ralph Walker is in many ways a typical teenager. He is experimenting with smoking and is openly preoccupied with the opposite sex, which makes him the brunt of jokes amongst his male classmates and which constantly gets him into trouble with the school's strict headmaster, Father Fitzpatrick. As penance and to redirect his energies, Father Fitzpatrick orders Ralph to join the school's cross country running team under the tutelage of the school's avant-garde thinking teacher, Father Hibbert. Some of the more unusual circumstances of Ralph's life are that he lives by himself in the family home, telling the authorities that he is living with his paternal grandparents (who are in reality deceased), and telling his widowed hospitalized mother (Ralph's father was killed in the war) that he is staying with a friend. Ralph's focus in life changes after his mother falls into a coma. It will take ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy about chasing miracles. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 2005 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Saint Ralph  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$140,881 (USA) (5 August 2005)

Gross:

$795,126 (USA) (28 October 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 30 kilometre Hamilton Round the Bay Race, which Ralph wins in the movie, is an actual event; in fact, it is the oldest structured road race in North America, predating the Boston Marathon (started 1897) by three years. The film's director, Michael McGowan, won the Round the Bay Race in 1995 with a time of 1:36:09. See more »

Goofs

The actual winner of the 1954 Boston Marathon was Veikko Karvonen from Finland. His finish time was 2:20:39. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ralph Walker: Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been 11 weeks since my last confession.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.24 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Halleluia Proprium Missae
In Domenica Tertia Post Pentecosten
Halleluia / aleluja Diligam te
(Public Domain)
Slovenski Madrigalisti, Ltg./Cond.: Janez Bole
(P) Point Classics, Courtesy of Morning Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Athletic determination of a spirited boy against a backdrop of pathos.
6 August 2005 | by (Colorado) – See all my reviews

Clearly the best movie out this month (July/August 2005 - I've seen most of them). The easiest way to tell you about it is to compare it to similar movies, and the first that came to mind were Lucas (Corey Haim) and Rudy (Sean Astin). What Saint Ralph shares in common with these films is the extreme athletic determination, against all odds, of a spirited boy from a pathetic background. And it's the best of it's kind since Rudy (1993), at least, and in my opinion since Lucas (1986).

Ralph (Adam Butcher) is a naughty but naive 14-year-old boy, ready to take almost everything literally, now faced with the paradox of faith. His widowed mother is apparently dying in the hospital, and falls into a coma early in the story. A doctor says it will take a miracle to wake her.

Ralph is an interesting character, his even blend of pure and impure motives providing both the humor that make the film entertaining, and the realism that make it believable. His self-abuse in every sense defines the term, from the usual meaning to literally sanding his knees to pray in a pan of alcohol, the latter recommended by his girlfriend, who aspires to be a nun.

When his Catholic school's cross country coach says it would be a miracle if anyone on his team won the Boston Marathon, Ralph's literal mind seizes a fallacious opportunity. If he wins the Boston Marathon, it would be a miracle, and that's what his mother needs to survive. Most of the movie is about his training to run that race, both physical and spiritual, with the help of a priest (Campbell Scott), a nurse (Jennifer Tilly), and his girlfriend (Tamara Hope).

The blend of comedy and pathos is effective, the film kept entertaining by the comedy in the foreground, while the fact that Ralph's mother is dying keeps us interested in the outcome and rooting for the boy. Even if you don't like running or sports in general, the life at stake, or at least the boy's faith at stake, makes this race important.

There may be a bit too much sexual comedy for most parents to let small children see. For instance, after Ralph's caught in a venal sin in the swimming pool, that involved spying on the girl's locker room, he tells his mother "It was really an accident. The manufacture of the pool was faulty." The incident becomes a running joke, demonstrating Ralph's character trait of not caring what other people think. He later says they didn't really need to drain the pool (I'm not going to explain that, you've got to see it, but it was funny). But it's not as crude as other current comedies like The Wedding Crashers and The Bad News Bears.

I recommend Saint Ralph specifically to anyone who liked Lucas or Rudy, and generally to anyone old enough to take the humor maturely.


12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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