St. Vincent – Movie Review
St. Vincent – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 24 Oct 2014
St. Vincent is a delightful movie that is equal parts comedy and heart. With strong, balanced performances by Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher and a great supporting cast in Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Chris O’Dowd it manages to tell a story with a fairly predictable outcome and some expected story beats while still managing to surprise.
Bill Murray’s Vincent is a (sometimes lovable) loser who makes a grudging arrangement with his new neighbor (Melissa McCarthy) to look after her son Oliver (Lieberher) after school. This leads to the promised shenanigans of Vincent and Oliver essentially sticking to Vincent’s routine of horse tracks, dive bars and spending time with paid companion (and very pregnant) Daka (Naomi Watts.) Daka has a fairly thick Russian accent, a good vocabulary and some questionable grammar. Watts disappears into the role. Vincent likewise has an accent that separates him from a trademark Bill Murray role, even though the actor’s charisma is used to great effect.
Vincent can be a complete jerk, especially to Maggie (McCarthy) and as we learn more about him we understand his pain and why he keeps people at arm’s length. Oliver is an equally fascinating combination of book smart and naive, providing great smartass (but always polite) comebacks to Vincent while not quite understanding what the phrase “lady of the night” implies.
There is a sense of reality here that is extremely rare. There’s quite a few scenes that somehow balance making you laugh out loud, feel for a character or are just plain sad. An ending credit sequence that is brilliant in its simplicity is shockingly hard to shrug off and walk out on. I could watch these characters with this strong of storytelling and direction for many more hours and recommend it to anyone mature enough for PG-13 sex, alcohol, tobacco and language.
Cal, Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion afterward in the car: