Title: Saint Ralph (2004) Director: Michael McGowan Writer: Michael McGowan Studio: Alliance Atlantis Communications // Samuel Goldwyn Films IMDb Plot: The unlikely story of Ralph Walker, a ninth-grader who outran everyone's expectations except his own in his bold quest to win the 1954 Boston Marathon. Joe Says: Undeniably a feel-good film proving that many great things can be accomplished by faith alone.
Saint Ralph can certainly fall into a number of classifications and would positively shine in all of them. The film is undeniably a feel-good film, and most certainly a coming-of-age one as well. There is even the great and unique sports angle that runs throughout. However, it is the story between Ralph and Campbell Scott’s character, Father Hibbert, that becomes the most responsive as the themes of mentor/student, coach/player, and father/son are all explored.
The film’s titular character is magnificently played by Adam Butcher and brings to the role all the cliché genuineness that the story demands: he doesn’t have many friends, he’s totally misunderstood, and is destined for greatness. The Catholic slant on the film brings a fun element as well as a – gasp – positive angle on the Church.
The film’s deus ex machina comes in the form of God appearing to Ralph dressed as Santa. What is totally wonderful about this concept is that it makes sense! And it also proves that many great things can be accomplished by faith alone.
Writer/director Michael McGowan has truly created a memorable story embracing style and class.