St. Vincent (2014) – Spoiler-Free Review

When a hedonistic war veteran with a penchant for alcoholism and gambling, reluctantly agrees to babysit his new neighbour’s kid after school, the two forge a bond that goes beyond friendship. They save each other. This is St. Vincent.

I read the script for St. Vincent before I had watched the film and it was one of the more enjoyable scripts I have ever read. The characters had character, the story was engaging and the overall theme of not judging a book by its a cover, was apparent throughout The film did much of the same.

Let’s start with Bill F**king Murray. Murray is a comedic genius and still one of the best around judging by this performance as Vincent. He manages to play an asshole in spectacular fashion. But somehow is still likable. His role in this film reminded me a lot of a way older Charlie Sheen-esque version of Phil in Groundhog Day – which is my favourite Billy Murray film of all time. Murray adds layers to his character and he just seems to get better with age.

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Jaeden Lieberher is a ridiculous name that I can barely pronounce but it’s also the name of actor who did an amazing job as Oliver, the little kid with big problems. The character of Oliver is one who really grabbed me when I read the script because of the hardships he has to go through in the story. But he’s a bright kid with a big heart and Lieberher does an outstanding job for his first feature film.

I was impressed with the supporting cast as well with Melissa McCarthy doing a solid job as a recently divorced mom who moves to a new job and new place and has to settle in a new life. Chris O’Dowd is humourous as always as Brother Geraghty, Oliver’s teacher at school, while Terrence Howard’s bit part role as loan shark Zucko was also decent, although still a bit part role. I would have liked to see a little more of him.

Naomi Watts was ok but not overly impressive as pregnant Russian “lady of the night” Daka. I also much rather preferred the script version of Daka when she was Charisse – a pregnant African American “lady of the night”. But you know, these things happen and the movie itself was still great despite this character alteration.

Some found this film to be an American version of About a Boy, and while there are similarities I think both films are perfect on their own. And you can never really have too many of this kind of film, especially when it’s done right.

Writer/Director/Producer Theodore Melfi’s first real outing into feature films is something to be proud of and I’m expecting big things to come from him in the future.

What I enjoyed most throughout the film is growing bond for these two unlikely friends and that they ultimately need each other to get through a tough time in each of their lives.

Those looking for a feel-good film will love this one. It’s funny, sometimes a little rude, but mostly charming. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 8/10

Notable performace: Bill F**king Murray. Quality.

Favourite quote: “Take me, God. Don’t play with me.” – Vincent.

Trivia: Naomi Watts learned her Russian accent for her role as Daka by watching YouTube videos and by going to a Russian spa in order to observe mannerisms and dialect.

For your convenience, here’s the trailer:

About the author: Dean wants to be known one day as Dean F**king Ravell. But, you know…in a good way.

 

 

Dean Ravell

Aspiring writer/director. Fascinated with all kinds of film and just wants to be part of the wonderful world of cinema. #AlmostFamous

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