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ST. VINCENT (review)

st_vincent_ver8ST. VINCENT
Written and Directed by Theodore Melfi
Starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Jaeden Lieberher

Vin: I don’t need to hear the whole story.

Theodore Melfi’s debut feature is about as assured as they come. ST. VINCENT may be conventional storytelling but Melfi proves that a story we have already heard in one form or another can still be told with enough originality to make it seem new again. He also proves that as a writer and director, he is capable of being very funny without being obvious or broad and that he can be just as dramatic without being overly sentimental. In doing so, he announces his arrival as a director to follow and provides his lead, Bill Murray, with his first great showcase piece since LOST IN TRANSLATION.

Murray plays the title character, who isn’t actually a saint. In fact, at first glance, he is the furthest thing away from sainthood that you can possibly imagine. Living in Brooklyn, he is retired, broke and spends his days living in a run down house, consuming as much alcohol as will be served to him and enjoying the company of a pregnant, Russian hooker (Naomi Watts). His life, as little of it as there is, is about to crumble underneath heavy gambling debts. Then, a new neighbour (Melissa McCarthy) moves in next door with her young boy (newcomer, Jaeden Lieberher) and everything changes. Through a sequence of events, Vin ends up watching the boy after school and they open each others’ lives up in ways that neither saw coming.

St. Vincent Movie Wallpaper

Like I said, you’ve seen this before but this relationship truly is special, made even more so by the eclectic support network that forms around them (including Chris O”Dowd as a Catholic school teacher). In fact, the acting across the board compliments the simplicity of Melfi’s script so perfectly; all involved, including a reasonably muted McCarthy and a completely riotous Watts, bring so much humanity to the characters that they play that you can’t help but feel for all of them. This is what is perhaps best attributed to Murray’s incredible contribution to the film. As Vin, he is entirely unlikable but Murray rounds him out so well and so completely that you cannot help but feel differently about him as the film goes on. It isn’t that you end up liking him but you definitely respect him for all he’s done and been through. And you laugh plenty along the way. In fact, I only stopped laughing when I started crying.

4 sheep


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One Comment

  1. Poignant story presented by a great ensemble of saints & sinners. Bill at the top of his craft in a messy yet touching role. Laughed some but cried more. Loved it.

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