Saint Ralph

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“A heart-warming story about chasing miracles!”

(Made in 2005) Fourteen-year-old Ralph Walker has a case of raging hormones that land him in all kinds of mischievous trouble. His Catholic school headmaster makes him join the track team as a punishment. It is here that he discovers a gift for long distance running. When told his comatose mother won’t recover without a miracle, Ralph decides to create one. He intends to win the Boston Marathon. Little does he know, he’s in for the run of his life.

No matter where he turns, people try to tell him it can’t be done. Instead of compassion, they stuff his clothes in a toilet, ridicule him, and generally try to break him emotionally. But Ralph won’t quit. He thinks that by winning the marathon (the movie is set in the early 1950’s,) his mom will come out of the coma.

It’s a story where one little person touches hundreds of lives in a positive way. Michael and I watched it on New Year’s Eve and we think it’s a 5-star movie. He ultimately follows the three Catholic rules necessary to create a miracle—1) To have faith in himself, 2) To be pure of mind and heart, and 3) To pray.

A priest who once was a world-class runner who gave it up after an injury, his best friend—a neighbor who has known him since he was small and a girl he developed a crush on all help him through his struggles.

What I liked about the movie is that it is a good example of the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child.” We sometimes don’t really know how much we influence the character of people as they grow up. Even the little things are remembered in shaping a young brain.

Ralph was supposedly living with his grandparents while his mom was in the hospital. In actuality, he was living alone in his deceased grandparent’s home and pawning everything they had owned to pay bills. His friend would write the necessary notes and forge the necessary signatures so that people would think Ralph had people looking after him. Hey. . . a kid does what he/she has to do to survive!

Even though he was not doing well in school, the headmaster allowed him to stay in school. Ralph visits his mom every day and uses many of the same techniques to stimulate her nervous system that I used on my coma patient last year. That was neat to see.

There are some points in the film where you may have to discuss what masturbation is if you watch it with the younger crowd, but for you Catholics out there, you will already know about that, and what confession and purgatory are all about! And sex is part of life. Those scenes are not graphic, but they do leave little to a young boy’s imagination. Ralph’s language is a bit rough around the edges at times as well.

Ralph (Adam Butcher) believed in himself and believed he could perform a miracle to get his mom out of a coma. Some say to never tell your dreams to anyone because they may pour negative energy your way. Ralph never let the naysayers have a negative effect on him no matter what.

You will see much more of this new actor I’m sure. He’s really great.

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