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Overall Rating

Worth A Look31.58%
Just Average: 18.42%
Pretty Crappy: 18.42%
Sucks: 0%

3 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Saint Ralph
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by Laura Kyle

"A character mentions following your heart. Need I say more?"
2 stars

It's hard to rag on a film about a boy training to win a marathon so that his mom will wake up from a coma. Even though at face value this plot makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER, Saint Ralph is such an innocuous, optimistic film -- the little indie that could (or at least, the little indie that thought it could), I won't make TOO much fun. After all, it's the holidays; the thought that counts - right?

Ralph, who's got a dead war hero for a dad and a cancer patient for a mother, is thrust into this wannabe epic underdog tale when he's informed that his sick mama has gone unconcious and may never wake up. Ralph is an amiable but terminally distracted (and horny) adolescent attending a Catholic private school and due to his TBA orphan status, the administration has gone a little easy on him, letting him stay enrolled even though he's probably deserving of expulsion. He did learn something in class though -- anyone can perform a miracle. And since he's been told it would take a miracle for his mother to wake up, surely if he takes on running, something he's a total novice at, and then wins the ultra-competitive Boston Marathon (a seemingly impossible task) then bingo, the story will end happily ever after.

Aw, kid logic. So cute!

It's more adorable when it's not what backs up a motion picture screenplay however.

Saint Ralph has a restrained affection for the Catholic school system -- the biggest jab it takes at it is making a pseudo-villain out of the self-righteous headmaster who decides that Ralph's athletic ambitions resemble out of control behavior, and he just won't have it. Of course, there's nothing in Michael McGowan's script that gives us any reason to believe that mean old Father Fitzpatrick (Gordon Pinsent) should have any motivation for being so judgmental about Ralph wanting to snap his mother out of her coma. I mean, for real, I'm having trouble coming down on this kid and he's not even real (he wasn't even played by that good of an actor either).

Campbell Scott is Father Hibbert, a legendary track star turned brooding priest, and he opts to coach Ralph, even though he thinks the kid s a bit off. (And can you blame him?) Jennifer Tilly plays Ralph's sympathetic nurse in probably her most forgettable role yet. Though if she's done anything more forgettable than this, I guess I wouldn't remember.

The score's ineffective, the soundtrack's annoyingly schmaltzy, the dialogue's as inorganic as is the acting, and what's left over is a at best, a nice effort. Frankly, if the movie didn't wear its heart on its sleeve, I'd have been a lot less forgiving.

I think McGowan's got potential as a screenwriter -- as derivative as Saint Ralph is (c'mon, it's basically a lifetime movie and a sports movie in one, just cuz you mix up genres, doesn't mean you're not making a genre movie), it's got hints of charm and intelligence in it. I'm just not sure he's got a real handle on direction yet -- but practice makes perfect. Just ask Ralph!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10469&reviewer=369
originally posted: 12/28/05 01:46:39
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival. For more in the 2005 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/01/09 Robert thought the film was entertaining, witty, and tastefully done. 4 stars
5/18/07 Omar W Serrano Great will, power and determination 5 stars
9/01/06 Kathy I don't know which movie you watched, but Saint Ralph brought me to tears several times. 5 stars
5/25/06 Pernendu Hendre Some scenes are a little odd, but it realy has draw, expecialy at the end 4 stars
1/10/06 Mansi Dido This is quite amusing, but not really my cup of tea. 3 stars
1/05/06 Bill McDonald Unless you grew up Catholic, before 1960, you probably won't get the full humor. 5 stars
11/18/05 margaret Vant Erve I loved this film. so did my teenage kids; that says something 5 stars
10/25/05 Kara Lang Inspirational for a runner, and made me laugh uproarously at times. 4 stars
10/18/05 JimSee give it a break, its entertainment. If I want harsh reality, visit the hosiptal not theatre 4 stars
6/03/05 Davi Very enjoyable movie. 4 stars
5/23/05 Michael Great Movie!!! 5 stars
5/17/05 Hugh Campbell A Movie I'd Like To Take My Son To See 4 stars
5/07/05 Sean Webb Weak writing and poor acting 2 stars
4/23/05 Jamie Williams Brilliant! 5 stars
10/07/04 Julie I love it! Excellent movie! 5 stars
9/26/04 Ed Wyrwas ...Sudbury, Ont. Canada A ten 5 stars
9/13/04 Andrew Heintzman great film 5 stars
9/13/04 Helen Todd Sweet, Touching, Moving, Wonderful, Spiritual but Real Humor 5 stars
9/02/04 Terrance Lawes Awesome 5 stars
8/25/04 jenny martin awesome film! 5 stars
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  DVD: 13-Dec-2005



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