Saint Ralph – Day Thirty Two – #40movies40days

Genies7This is a slight Canadian film, but highly enjoyable.  It’s whimsical, funny and features fine performances by Adam Butcher as young Ralph Walker and Campbell Scott as Father George Hibbert.

Ralph is a boy on his own.  His father has died and his mother has been ill and in the hospital for months, mostly likely suffering from a brain tumor.  He survives by selling things from his home and forging notes from non-existant grandparent who are caring for him.

He is a Catholic school boy who struggles with rules, growing up and being the butt of the older boys’ jokes.  He is sentenced to the track team for a series of infractions.  He discovers the joy and pain of running by working with the team.

Ralph’s mother slips into a coma and the doctor says only a miracle will save her.  Father Hibbert, the track coach, tells the boys in a teasing manner that they only have about 100 days to train for the Boston Marathon.

When Ralph asks if someone on the team could win, the coach laughs and says it would be a miracle if ANYONE on the team won.  Ralph seizes on this and decides HE will win the marathon to produce the miracle his mother needs to wake up from her coma.

14712__StRalph_lRalph starts researching miracles and is assured that yes, ordinary people can produce them with faith, purity and prayer.  Ralph struggles mightily (and comedically) with all three requirements.

He starts training in earnest and wins a big regional race in a surprise upset victory.  Father Hibbert turns out to an Olympic class marathoner whose career ended with an injury.  The priest takes on Ralph’s training personally, if the boy will quit talking about miracles.

I loved the question of what exactly is a miracle. I do believe we all can produce miracles with faith (if you don’t believe you can do it, you can’t), the purity of heart that comes from real love and prayer that can be a dedicated action that has nothing to do with putting one’s hands together with eyes cast heavenward. Miracles happen every day all around us– I see that so clearly in my own life.

The ending of the film is a miracle but not exactly in the way Ralph expects. Miracles always seem to work that way– they creep up on you unawares and change your perception of reality forever.  Suddenly, things that seemed impossible now are in reach. You are a different person because you believe.

1 Comment

  1. Reply Adam Butcher 10th July 2011

    I’m glad you like the film.

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