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
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 »
The marathon route looks nothing like the true course even considering the time period. There is no turn out of Hopkinton at the start, the final turn at the finish is a left, not a right and the hill does not drop off to the right of Heartbreak Hill. See more »
Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been 11 weeks since my last confession.
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Performed by Gord Downie
Written by Leonard Cohen
Published by Bad Monk Publishing (BMI)
c/o Sony/ATV Music Publishing (SOCAN) All rights reserved.
Arranged by Andrew Lockington
Courtesy of Running Miracles Productions Inc. See more »
Take Your Family and Go See This Movie!
Saint Ralph is a triumph. It approaches the "inspirational" movie genre (think everything from Rocky to Chariot's of Fire) but manages to evoke a genuine and unique flavour in the form. It is fresh, original, funny, and extremely moving. The characters are well developed, the plot intriguing and inviting, and the dialogue simply priceless. People literally clapped in the theatre; more than half hung around for all of the credits, and groups were huddled around posters seeking more information about the film.
My favourite detail: I was simply astonished at the music score for the climatic scene. Gord Downie's version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is breathtakingly beautiful, and perfectly set. Adam Butcher, playing Ralph, in the scene transcends the child-actor role. His face displays an exquisite complexity of emotions, chilling and sublime, while Downie sings. Truly marvelous.
The premise, by now, is familiar: a boy's mother falls into a coma, and he believes a miracle will awaken her. The movie positions itself in that delicious but awkward transition between boyhood innocence and adulthood stoicism or cynicism. Ralph is a child, becoming a man, learning the limits of his own body, his mother's body, and all the while confronting adults inability to imagine or dream. He dream's on and takes the audience on a sweet journey that will rekindle your fire. It truly is an inspirational film, without being sappy or relying on overwrought clichés.
A truly promising start for Michael McGowan, a new Canadian filmmaker.
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