#REVIEW: “ST. VINCENT”
After a successful premiere at TIFF ’14, Theodore Melfi-written-and-directed Comedy St. Vincent now sees a well-deserved wide release for all to enjoy. We’ve always had a soft spot for Films about second chances and flawed Heroes, hence the Film on paper won us over already.
Vincent (Bill Murray) is a retired Vietnam Vet whose daily regimen involves drinking in copious amounts at the local Watering Hole, visiting the local Strip Club where his pregnant sorta-Lover Daka (Naomi Watts) dances, in addition to frequenting the races at Belmont Park regularly. Drowning in debt, he accepts a job caring for his new Neighbour, the pint-sized 12-year-old Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) for newly-single Mom Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) who is required to work extended hours at the local hospital. We witness Vincent and Oliver form a genuine bond, each helping the other grow in different ways. Oliver is getting bullied at school; Vincent in his old age needs to be grounded. Things reach a turning point for Vincent as we see him neglect his health as his financial stresses get the better of him.
Just when we thought we’ve seen Bill Murray at his greatest, whether it be Groundhog Day or Lost in Translation, we are wowed completely by yet another phenomenal performance here as Vincent, filled with equal parts humour and compassion. It is impossible not to fall in love with him despite the questionable choices he makes in life. At his core is a good person – an unconventional modern day Saint if you will.
Newcomer Lieberher displays plenty of promise, simply adorable in his wonderment at his ever-changing World and attempts to become more like Vincent. Watts delivers the laughs with a spot-on Russian accent, completely throwing aside any trace of vanity and self-awareness to become Daka. McCarthy rarely misfires and this more subdued yet richly-emotional performance is a refreshing break from the slapstick humour she so dangerously was close to being pigeon-holed into. Make no mistake though – we were as crazy as anyone else about her in Bridesmaids, The Heat and Tammy. In all, a perfectly eclectic Ensemble.
St. Vincent is all about the journey and we grow with this set of Characters along their meaningful paths. Melfi crafts a striking balance that both tugs on the heartstrings as it brings on the LOLs. We applaud his fresh take handling the the complexities of aging with grace and humour. Dare I say he makes being retired look sweet…. and fun?
The major Awards buzz St. Vincent is receiving this early in the Awards Season completely is warranted and we expect Bill Murray to be front and center this Winter.
eOne Films release St. Vincent on Friday, October 27, 2014.