Monday, February 19, 2007
where there is a will, there is a way
we saw two movies diuring the toronto international film festival at mumbai last month.one was 'away from her' and the other was 'st ralph'. this ninetyeight minutes film was a pure delight to watch. an engaging plot,witty dialogue,a touching story and very thoughtfully directed by mc gowan. he is also the screenwriter.
it is the story of a fouteen year old boy,ralph walker(adam butcher), who has lost his father, a soldier,in world war II and who lives with his mother emma(shaune macdonald) in hamilton,ohio. emma becomes seriously ill and goes into a state of comatose. ralph is thoroughly shaken up and everyday visits the hospital and keeps talking to his mom as if she were in her senses. when he asks the nurse,alice(jennifer tilly) as to when his mom will be ok, she says that only a 'miracle' can now bring her back to life.
the boy decides to run the great 'boston marathon' and win the rally. that would be a miracle. and his mom would become normal. he works hard at it .the rally is the world's oldest marathon where more than 20,000 runners participate in this annual spring event .it is held every year on the third monday of April,known as the patriot's day.the rally is tough.the terrain is hilly and the weather in spring is quite unpredictable.
the prefect of the jesuit school in which he is studying played by gordon pinsent is totally against the boy's decision.he is very strict and punishes him for yet another offense by asking him to run with the cross-country team of the school. he calls him and asks him to give up the idea of running the 'boston marathon'.he cannot imagine ralph becoming a saint. after all only saints can perform miracles!.the prefect's admonition turns out as a blessing in disguise. ralph is now more than ever determined to win the 'boston marathon' and bring his mother back to normalcy.
with encouragement and coaching from another jesuit father hibbert(campbell scott) who had also run the rally earlier and support of his girl friend claire cllins(tamara hope) who wants to become a nun and another class mate,he is totally focussed on his target. nurse alice even teaches him weight lifting to acquire physical strength and endurance.
ralph wins hamilton's 'race around the bay' and fires the imagination of all his admirers.he is now all set to win the boston rally and achieve the impossible.a social outcast in school for his bad habits, he gets encouragement and support from unexpected quarters.the same classmates who detested and riduculed him now pray for his success.
ralph doesn't win.he finishes the 'boston marathon' as a runner-up. but that is not the point. the message from michael mcgowan is clear. we need to reach for something beyond ourselves. there are immense possibilities around us which we neeed to see and experience.
an underdog drama,the picture shows that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.through willpower and a little help from friends. the impossible can be accomplished. the power of faith is extraordinary.
"the mind is a place of its own.it can make a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven". these were john milton's words in 'paradise lost'. no matter how bad conditions may be, the human being has the ability to turns things to his/her advantage by hard work,determination and perseverance. the rest is left to god and his grace.