Saturday, 3 January 2015

St. Vincent

UK Release Date: December 5th 2014

A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.

Director: Theodore Melfi

Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O'Dowd, Terrence Howard, Jaeden Lieberher

Bill Murray is a gem. Vincent is a grumpy old man who has nothing nice to say about anyone. He drinks, he bets and he has his way with a lady of the night, but what makes him such a mean, selfish person? Our interest for him widens the moment he meets Oliver (young, up and coming talent Lieberher), the son of his new neighbour, Melissa McCarthy.

McCarthy's a single mother who spends most of her time nursing at the local hospital, so it becomes unfitting and cumbersome for Vincent (not to mention bad timing) to take duty as surrogate father. He's not the greatest role model, but Oliver and Vincent bond. They help each other in ways they never imagined.

Murray's performance is dazzling, making Vincent a likeable mess, even if he's repugnant for the majority of the film. There's an obvious light at the end of the tunnel as this comedy switches to drama. Vincent has more to show than his exterior makes out. St. Vincent descends into a mushy, watery eyed divinity that no one can resist.

There's some spectacular acting amongst the crowd. McCarthy is the best she's ever been with a toned down, sweetly empathetic role, Chris O'Dowd rewards us with wit and sarcasm and Watts' Russian philanderer is odd but plays ball well. These three, including Murray and Lieberher, make a soft story a stronger one. 

Verdict: St. Vincent is charming, funny and attractive, and it's all down to execution.

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