St. Vincent

Movies, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
St. Vincent

Why not just call it St. Bill and get it over with? The most lovable curmudgeon in modern movies gets a valedictory lap (and, you suspect, another Oscar campaign) in Theodore Melfi’s crowd-pleasing yet dangerously sentimental wacky-neighbor dramedy. The film comes to gruff life whenever its star growls out a terse one-liner through his character’s alcoholic haze: Vincent (Murray) is an unkempt Sheepshead Bay loner, a Vietnam War vet who likes to toggle between the track or the bar. With the arrival of a new neighbor (Melissa McCarthy) and, more significantly, her wide-eyed son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), the movie’s entire trajectory is clear: from grumpy after-class babysitting to surrogate father-son bonding and lessons in bully defense.

St. Vincent has nothing on Rushmore, an obvious forebearer, even though it strains for the same egalitarian spirit of thrown-together family, one that includes a pregnant Russian stripper (Naomi Watts) and a sympathetic but firm Catholic schoolteacher (Chris O’Dowd). Almost every actor’s performance is pitched toward indie caricature, all the better to showcase Murray’s subtle Irish honk (he’s unusually capable with the accent) and feisty old-school Brooklyn demeanor.

Does St. Vincent really need a school project in which Oliver has to give a speech about an everyday saint he knows? (Guess who?) Of course it doesn’t, but you get the appeal of putting Murray behind a podium. Less understandable are several third-act developments (a stroke, a death in Vincent’s secret circle, a triumphant physical rehabilitation), any one of which would have tipped the film into mush. You get all of them.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf


Release details

Release date:
Friday October 10 2014
103 mins

Cast and crew

Theodore Melfi
Theodore Melfi
Bill Murray
Melissa McCarthy
Jaeden Lieberher
Naomi Watts
Chris O’Dowd

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

The movie's plot was pretty predictable, but its means of getting there had some pretty unique moments. I enjoyed the watch, but as the TimeOut review mentions it does get REALLY mushy with a bunch of plot twists it didn't really need (one would have sufficed) but its message is clear and, I think, worth watching/experiencing. Won't resonate with some viewers as much as others, but as a perpetual bitchfaced loner I find myself relating to Vincent on more than one occasion.