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Saint Ralph

Year: 2004
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 98 min
Director: Michael McGowan
Producer: Andrea Mann, Michael Souther, Teza Lawrence, Seaton McLean
Executive Producer: Peter Sussman, Marguerite Pigott
Writer: Michael McGowan
Cinematographer: René Ohashi
Editor: Susan Maggi
Sound: Valentin Pricop
Music: Andrew Lockington
Cast: Campbell Scott, Jennifer Tilly, Adam Butcher, Shauna MacDonald, Gordon Pinsent

The bittersweet story of a boy who has the temerity to believe he can make a miracle happen, Saint Ralph centres on Ralph Walker (Adam Butcher), a rambunctious ninth-grade student at a Catholic school in Hamilton in the fifties who is on the verge of becoming an orphan: his father is dead and his mother (Shauna MacDonald) is critically ill in the hospital. When she lapses into a coma during one of Ralph's visits, it seems only a miracle will improve her health. With irrational determination, Ralph decides that winning the Boston Marathon would qualify as such a miracle, and with the help of Father Hibbert (Campbell Scott), the school's cross-country running coach, Ralph sets out to make it happen. But the punitive headmaster Father Fitzpatrick (Gordon Pinsent) sees Ralph's quest as heresy, and is determined to prevent him from competing.

Sweet and unabashedly sentimental, Saint Ralph features emotionally engaging performances from an exceptional cast. Michael McGowan, directing his second feature, strikes the right balance of whimsy and verisimilitude. Saint Ralph was named one of Canada's Top Ten of 2004 by an independent, national panel of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals. The film is also notable as the last feature produced by Alliance Atlantis before it closed its film production unit.

By: Liz Czach