I first saw the 2004 film Saint Ralph when I was on a trans-Pacific flight. I had never heard of the movie before (probably because it’s from Canada), but I watched it anyway because, let’s face it, I didn’t have anything else to do for the 11-1/2 hour flight!
Unfortunately, being confined in the plane was the only thing that kept me watching Saint Ralph all the way to the end. The movie tells the story of a troubled young high school student named Ralph Walker (played by Adam Butcher) who is going through some very tough times and has no one to help him through. First, his mother Emma (Shauna MacDonald) is in a coma and the doctors say she has little chance of recovery. Second, Ralph is trying to live on his own inside his house, though he’s supposed to be under the care of guardians. And third, Ralph, a Roman Catholic, starts having problems with his faith.
When Ralph gets in trouble at school, the principal thinks that the best punishment for him would be to join the cross country team. That’s when Ralph starts developing a friendship with Father Hibbert (Campbell Scott), the coach of the team. Father Hibbert is the only one who doesn’t ridicule Ralph when Ralph decides that he wants to compete in the 1954 Boston Marathon. The boy had heard a nurse at the hospital saying that it would take a “miracle” for Ralph’s mother to wake up. Ralph immediately thinks that winning the Boston Marathon would satsify that requirement, so he starts training as hard as he can.
If this concept sounds absurd to you, believe me, it plays even worse on the screen. The whole movie was sentimental garbage that no one in their right mind would swallow. That’s what I thought after my first viewing of Saint Ralph, but after seeing that IMDB.com users currently rate the movie at 7.9 stars, I decided to watch it again to see if I missed anything. I didn’t. It was even worse the second time because I got to pick up on even more of the movie’s inanities.
I give this movie 2 stars out of 5 and can’t think of any reason at all to recommend it to anyone.