St. Vincent is a moving film about suffering and goodness in a cruel world. It is billed as a comedy, but is much more than that. St. Vincent stars Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, whose combined talents make them perfect for this movie. St. Vincent is a bittersweet story that shows that when life is at its worst, there can be heroism in just making it through another day.
Melissa McCarthy is Maggie Bronstein, a newly divorced mother who is struggling to make ends meet while caring for her 12 year old son. They move to a small house in Brooklyn and have the misfortune to find Vincent MacKenna (Bill Murray) is their new neighbor. Vincent is a nasty old guy whose life consists of drinking at a bar, seeing a prostitute and being alone in his house with his cat.
Maggie has to work long hours at the hospital and desperately needs someone to watch her son Oliver and prepare food for him. With no other choice, she finally hires Vincent as the babysitter.
This is where most films would have just turned into silly slapstick comedies. Instead, St. Vincent delves much deeper into the complexities of human nature. Oliver (perfectly played by Jaeden Lieberher) finds that there is much more to Vincent than meets the eye. Vincent becomes a sort of very flawed father figure to Oliver. Vincent teaches Oliver how to defend himself and stand up for himself against bullies.
Oliver finds that Vincent also has reasons for his depression. Oliver and Vincent make weekly trips to a nursing home to visit Vincent’s wife, who is suffering from the final stages of Alzheimer’s. Unlike his attitude with most people, Vincent is always kind, patient and loving with his wife, despite the fact that she no longer even recognizes who he is.
Oliver attends a private Catholic school and is mentored By Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd). The school has an annual assembly called “living saints”, in which each child is to give a presentation about a person still alive but who has all the attributes of a saint. Brother Geraghty points out that saints are not perfect people, but people who have done great things despite their own imperfections.
Oliver chooses as his living saint Vincent and decides to secretly research who this old man really is and what his life has been like.
Naomi Watts is Dakota, a tough as nails, pregnant Russian prostitute. Despite her tough exterior she does like Vincent and Oliver and tries to help them in her own strange ways.
Cris O’Dowd is fantastic as Brother Geraghty, who has some of the best lines in the movie. Our favorite is that “Catholicism is the best religion because we have the most rules.”
Even the small parts are filled with wonderful actors. Greta Lee is great as a harried bank teller who has the misfortune to become the focus of Vincent’s wrath. Greta Lee is known to most people as Homeless Hannah in the HBO Show High Maintenance.
St. Vincent is a wonderful film and we loved it.
- We give St. Vincent our highest rating of Five Stars *****
- See all our movie Reviews
- See our review of High Maintenance.
- For our story of another old man who was more than he seemed read The Last Connecticut Gentleman