St. Vincent (2014) Review

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Plot: 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.

I love this type of movie, simply love love love this type of movie: a movie in which this ridiculous, unlikely candidate to ever take care of someone other then themselves becomes the mentor to a seemingly fragile person, changing the person’s, and eventually everyone’s, lives for the better. Curtains open, curtains close. Sunrise, sunset. What I find so charming and so lovable about these types of stories is, in most cases anyways, they ring true. We all know or have a person like Vincent in our lives; a frumpy, grouchy, misanthropic, eccentric, crude person who seems like they would be the person you would most likely want to avoid if you have any real problems, but they always end up usually teaching you something and you end up glad that you had or have them in your life. Whether you have them in your lives to stay or whether you had only a fleeting time with them, you will always be glad that the person was in your life. That’s what I love about these kind of movies, how they bring up all kinds of emotions, yet they remain as quirky, lovable, and off -the -wall as they possibly can. But, in St Vincent’s case, it is much much more than just your average quirky, lovable, off-the-wall movie.

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“St Vincent” brings together the wonderful, legendary comedic timing of Bill Murray, with the massively underrated comedic talents of Melissa McCarthy in two wonderfully brilliant performances. Murray’s performance, in my opinion, was certainly dazzling enough to warrant an Oscar nomination, giving his first-rate piece of acting work since 2005’s “Broken Flowers” in my opinion. The chemistry in their performances together was really good, albeit spending a good portion of the film acerbically sparring like warring cats and dogs, but not as sweet and as gracefully realistic as the chemistry between Murray and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher, who portrayed young Oliver. I honestly haven’t seen chemistry that realistic, and that sweet, and that touching in a very long time. Perhaps my favorite scene of the entire movie is this pivotal scene in which Oliver is being bullied by Robert, a boy in his class at school. He’s kicked around, shoved, punched in the nose, but does he fight back? No. When Vincent witnesses this, he does this sort of Eastwood-esq 1000-yard stare before coming to his senses to defend Oliver from the bullies; and by defend him, I mean verbally assault the bullies, threaten them, and then break their skateboard. It was my favorite scene because it really showed how much Vincent cared for Oliver, even if he himself hadn’t realized it yet. Like I said, McCarthy and Murray gave two wonderful performances, but the true surprise the this magnificent film was Jaeden Lieberher portraying Oliver. Words simply cannot describe how skillful, delightful, and exceptionally heartfelt his performance was, but to put it this way he is going to have a hell of a career. His performance was simply one of the finest acting performances by a child actor in many years, perhaps even decades.

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“St Vincent” is Theodore Melfi’s feature film debut as a screenwriter/director, and it was a magically ingenious first work – but it wasn’t without its faults. The movie was wholehearted and beautiful, filled with many emotions that are touching and realistic, it was also at times quite funny and sentimental. But I think the sentimentality works faultlessly for the tone of this movie. The faults of this movie, principally for a first work, were actually few and far between. My main problem was with Naomi Watts’ character Daka, “The Hooker With A Heart of Gold”; the character was decently written albeit being cliched and her performance was alright – but my problem is she was really rude and standoffish, her character did not fit the tone of the movie for the most part. There were a few other cliches here and there, but they didn’t at all drag down the elegant, excellent screenplay Melfi wrote.

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In conclusion, “St Vincent” is most likely 2014’s most underrated movie; a movie with heart and emotions that will make you laugh, cry, feel happy, and especially make you have a good time at the movies. The screenplay was a tightly written first effort, and the performances were always on point, especially Murray’s and Lieberher’s. This movie was always a thrill to watch, never boring, and I highly recommend it for everyone and their family or friends.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Thanks for Reading!

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