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Saint Ralph (PG-13)

Release Date: August 5th, 2005 (NYC- Crown New York 1 & 2 and AMC Empire 25) by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
The Cast: Adam Butcher, Campbell Scott, Shauna MacDonald, Gordon Pinsent, Jennifer Tilly
Directed by Michael McGowan

BASIC PREMISE: Ralph (Butcher), a 14 year-old boy in a Catholic school, competes for the Boston Marathon while his mother is in a coma.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This genuinely funny movie is full of a lot of charm and a script that has plenty of wit. Ralph is a very likeable and funny character with a big heart and fast legs for a young boy. His journey toward the final competition in the Boston Marathon is very suspenseful. Campbell Scott gives a great performance as coach and mentor Father Hibbert. This marathon provides a conflict for Father Fitzpatrick (Pinsent), the stern school headmaster who refuses to open his mind to non-religious activities. There aren't any conflicts that threaten anyone's life because this is not a movie with truly bad guys. It is more about a difference of principles or of beliefs. This difference causes a lot of tension and it is engaging to watch as the students gradually open their minds to Ralph's quest. There is even a little predictable romance between Ralph and one of his fellow students, but their scenes are often funny and sweet. Much of the humor is gentle and subtle, except for one in a pool as Ralph is fixated on a hot woman. Watch for a very effective innuendo shot that ends the scene. The last 20 minutes of the film are very riveting and full of pleasant surprises, especially the unpredictable ending.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: There are a lot of insightful, inspiring themes throughout this uplifting film. One recurring theme is the belief in miracles. It takes a true cynic not to believe in miracles. It is very inspiring to watch Ralph continue on his mission to enter the Boston Marathon without giving up. Along with a smart coach, he puts his heart, mind, and body into the race. The music is very uplifting and there is one song in particular that has words that are very appropriate to the plot. The unpredictable ending is not too cheesy or cute--or "Hollywood". Rather, it is an ending that is equally moving, realistic, and very satisfying. What makes this film even truly moving is that Ralph doesn't just compete for the sake of being different or better than somebody. He does it to make his mother happy. He is truly a saint!



THE BOTTOM LINE: A very charming, funny and uplifting film with an important message about miracles and courage. It is also an inspiring and very moving story that puts a smile on your face long after it is over.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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