Thursday, August 4, 2005

Saint Ralph

Posted on Thu, Aug 4, 2005 at 4:00 AM

Saint Ralph
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 2005-08-05
Cast: Adam Butcher, Campbell Scott, Shauna MacDonald, Gordon Pinsent, Michael Kanev
Director: Michael McGowan
Screenwriter: Michael McGowan
WorkNameSort: Saint Ralph
Our Rating: 3.00

Introduced to local audiences via the 2005 Florida Film Festival, this coming-of-age- comedy/period piece hits every clichéd note in the underdog canon, yet still manages to involve, thanks to top-quality acting and sensible choices on the part of writer/director Michael McGowan (My Dog Vincent). In 1954, a semicorrigible Catholic-school boy (Adam Butcher) sets his sights on winning the Boston Marathon. Though he harbors his share of delusions of grandeur, it's not glory he's after in this instance, but grace – as in reviving his cancer-ridden mother from a coma, which he's been led to believe hinges on a "miracle" like his crossing the finish line first. The vignettes of athletic striving and adolescent temptation have an enduring relevance, and Campbell Scott gives a typically dignified performance as the outlaw priest who understands better than anybody why his young student was born to run. Bonus: A wordless climax that puts Leonard Cohen's song "Alleluia" to far better use than its pointless belaboring in The Edukators.


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