Saint Ralph


Comedy / Drama / Sport

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 64%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 6112

Plot summary

November 11, 2022 at 05:58 PM


Michael McGowan

Top cast

Jennifer Tilly as Nurse Alice
Shauna MacDonald as Emma Walker
Campbell Scott as Father George Hibbert
Keir Gilchrist as Kid Collins
903.86 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wisewebwoman 8 / 10

A wonderful study of Canada in the fifties.

One of the best movies I've seen all year. I tried to catch it in the theatre but it was vapourized too quickly and having seen it I'm completely baffled- surely Canada can afford to promote movies a little better than this. Many such missed opportunities come to mind ("Marion Bridge", "The Hanging Garden" et al). This is one of the best of its genre, the extremely gritty dedicated athlete/musician/singer/painter who takes on the world against all odds. But this is done with a twist. It all takes place in the 1950s in very Catholic parochial school Ontario.

Ralph (Adam Butcher) is a brazen but cute 14-year-old student fighting the system but inwardly grieving his Dad, who died in the recent war (WW2)and his extremely ill mother who lies in a coma in the hospital. This is never sentimentalized, his exchanges with his mother before she slips into her coma are beautifully written and believable.

How he cobbles together his faith and goes out to seek a miracle is the crux of the story but there are many lovely sidebars, his almost-girlfriend who wants to be a nun, his best friend who forges notes for him, a fun loving nurse, played by the never disappointing Jennifer Tilly, squeaky voice in place and some disbelieving factory workers who mock his attempts at athleticism.

Ralph is a fully developed character, his sinful side clashing consistently with his puritanical, self-punishing side, his innate flirtatiousness offset by his being picked upon by the older boys in his school. Adam nails the role to such a degree that one forgets he is acting.

A younger priest (Campbell Scott plays this beautifully) with a secret past agrees to help the young boy and Gordon Pinsent plays the part of the older rigid priest with conviction even though he has some thin dialogue to sink his teeth into – the movie's only weakness.

The sexuality content is handled well and honestly with none of that gruesome teenage guffawing that litters other movies of this ilk. Because of this content it would not be suitable for children which is a shame, but it is not gratuitous and is an intrinsic part of the Catholic sin quotient of the era. 8 out of 10. A marvelous, thoughtful film.

Reviewed by artzau 8 / 10


Every once in a while, a "feel good" movie pops up that surprises me. Always on the look-out for movies that my wife will watch, I picked this off the shelf and was simply delighted watching it. The story was better than the run of the mill tear-jerker and was made credible by the performance of young Mr. Butcher in the title role, the sweet and beautiful teenage Ms. Hope and the convincing performances of Campbell Scott and Gordon Pinsent as the priests with opposing views. To a pair of cradle Catholics like my wife and I who grew up in the 50s, the bittersweet romance of coming of age was very compelling. In short, this is a good film. Enough nostalgia to spark old memories for oldies like us and with enough sentiment not to be overly sentimental and maudlin. Check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Reviewed by imxo 9 / 10

Wonderful Film with 1950's Canadian Schoolboy Theme

Saint Ralph is a throwback to the wonderful films of the 1940's and 50's in which hope springs eternal, no matter the roadblocks that one may encounter along the way. However, it's never corny. It is a film with a lot of wry, gentle humor, especially for those who may have gone to parochial schools when they were staffed primarily by nuns, brothers, and priests. My wife tells me that all over the theater men of a certain age could be heard chuckling at the familiar scenes from their youth.

Lots of references pop into my head as I think about this film. I can't help but recall "Chariots of Fire", British schoolboy movies, and even "Catcher in the Rye." I believe this Canadian film could only have been made in an English-speaking Commonwealth country, possibly Britain, but certainly Canada or Australia. It's pretty definite, however, that this kind of film could never have been made in the U.S. There is a certain sensibility that we south of the Canadian border seem to have lost forever.

This movie is not perfect, but it certainly ranks as one of the most satisfying films I've seen in a very long time. The cast is uniformly good, the writing is spot on, and there is even a period of real suspense. I most heartily recommend this movie.

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