Saint Ralph

A charming and well-executed coming-of-age story about an onanistic Catholic boy growing up in 1950s Canada. Adam Butcher gives a weirdly awesome performance as the titular Ralph, whose mom falls into a coma the moment he tells her that he’s been caught “committing a venal sin in the pool.” Ralph decides that the only way he can save her is to win the Boston Marathon, so he enlists the help of a Nietzschean priest and a wannabe nun in order to become as pure and swift as the waters of Jordan (ca. 30 A.D.) While there are elements of Capra-esque schmaltz here, the inventive script and compelling performances keep up the entertainment value, and the ending carefully and with due consideration jerks tears from one’s eyes in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been used. Not a major film, but an excellent minor one.

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