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
was pleasantly surprised by Saint Ralph. It's a Canadian film about a 14 year old boy who goes to Catholic School in 1950's Hamilton. It stars Campbell Scott, Gordon Pinsent, Adam Butcher, Shauna MacDonald and was directed by Michael McGowan. It's about a Ralph Walker who's mother is sick in hospital and who's father died long ago. He is a smooth operator, sort of an Eddie Haskell type with the adults but a complete loser with his peers. When his mother goes into a coma he's told that only a miracle would wake her up. He is forced to join the track team as punishment where the coach, Father Hibbert (Campbell Scott) jokes about there only being 6 months until the Boston Marathon. When Ralph asks if the team is going to run in Boston, Father Hibbert tells him he was only joking and that it would be a miracle if anyone on the team won the Boston Marathon. Thus, Ralph becomes committed to the idea of winning the Marathon and getting the miracle so his mom will wake up. In the way is Father Fitzpatrick (played by Gordon Pinsent) the head of the school who feels that chasing miracles borders on blasphemy. There is a mix of comedy and drama and the ending is a bit of a heart-tugger but I enjoyed this film. Note, I would not bring children under 12 to see it since there is a scene in the pool where Ralph accidentally sees into the women's change room and at the same time encounters a water jet which causes him to lose control. There is also some smoking and drinking by Ralph and a few swear words. It sort of reminded me of Heaven Help Us but funnier and more poignant. Adam Butcher was quite funny and earnest while Campbell Scott is always solid and Gordon Pinsent is one of Canada's best kept acting secrets. Even if you aren't Canadian it was a nice popcorn film 7.5/10.
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