St. Vincent

Movie Review



Bill Murray as Vince

Melissa McCarthy as Maggie

Naomi Watts as Daka

Jaeden Lieberher as Oliver


Written, Directed and Produced by Ted Melfi

For the

Weinstein Company and

Chernin Entertainment

Rated PG-13


We’ve seen buddy movies over the years: Rainman for the men, Thelma and Louise for the women, but now we have one with an old geezer and a young boy . . . and just like those first two films, St. Vincent works.


Bill Murray has developed a reputation of quietly acting in films like this.  He did is In Lost in Translation, and he does it here.  He plays the so very down on his luck Vince, who has worn out on life.  He spends his time in the bars, at the racetrack, or just vegetating in his house with his cat. He keeps company with third-rate Russian ladies and smokes too much.   He’s sour on so much, but yet there’s a deeper part that keeps him going.  I will say no more to prevent any need of spoil alerts.  In any case, we get a Bill Murray of his latest work.  Academy award?  Maybe, maybe not.


Melissa McCarthy, she of the obnoxious fat girl mold, shows us a whole new Melissa.  No brash comedic  bull-in-the-china-shop this time.  She plays Maggie, a professional woman (medical technology) who is in the middle of a divorce who finds herself wrapped around one dilemma after another as she serves as mother to Oliver.  There’s a sweetness here we didn’t see in Bridesmaids – and we saw just a touch of that sweetness in the first year of Mike and Molly.  She successfully gives us a hardworking career woman who is balancing it all as she tends to her work and her son.


The boy is played by first time actor Jaeden Lieberher – and we get a boy who is more towards the nerdy than the athletic.  He is confident enough to take himself on the city bus line to get to school and is able to make good choices when things go wrong.  Yet, he’s bullied by some of his classmates with no idea of how to handle that – and he does it all with a credibility that shouldn’t come with such inexperienced actors.


Naomi Watts plays Vince’s girlfriend Daka who just happens to be a Russian ‘lady who works at night’ (which is what Vince tells Oliver as to Daka’s career choice) and who also happens to be pregnant.  When she’s not ‘working at night’ or being with Vince, she’s a pole dancer at one of the seedy establishments in town that feature such entertainment.  Ms. Watts delivers a fun, comedic performance, complete with a Russian accent, an attitude that can cut like a knife, and a weary appearance of a lady who has just simply seen too much action in her line of work.


In the story, Maggie and her son have just moved into a home next to Vince, and it is the very next day that the circumstances arise that force her to hire Vince to take care of Oliver after school.  We’ve already seen how seedy Vince lives, so there’s this disquieting feeling as the arrangement unfolds – until we see that Vince has his caring side (no spoiler, remember?).  But, like the famous odd couple Matthau and Lemmon, the two went their way through many adventures that aren’t necessarily proper for a boy of ten years old.


And that ten-year old boy attends a Catholic school, where we learn he might be Jewish.  Fortunately, his teacher is unflappable and accepts him into a class of all sorts of students.  Oliver gets bullied around, but thanks to Vince’s tutelage, he overcomes the bullying.


Let’s leave the chain of events there.  With no more description, let’s say the movie may draw tears, will surely draw laughs and chuckles,  and may just find you looking with a little more understanding and forbearance at the grumpy old guy down the street.