Vincent is an old Vietnam vet whose stubbornly hedonistic ways have left him without money or a future. Things change when his new next-door neighbor's son, Oliver, needs a babysitter and Vince is willing enough for a fee. From that self-serving act, an unexpected friendship forms as Vincent and Oliver find so much of each other's needs through each other. As Vincent mentors Oliver in street survival and other worldly ways, Oliver begins to see more in the old man than just his foibles. When life takes a turn for the worse for Vincent, both them find the best in each other than no one around them suspects.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vincent's car is a 1983 Chrysler Lebaron convertible with wood paneling. See more »
Vincent's car alternates between a 1983 model Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country convertible and a 1984 model. The front ends are the same, but the taillights are different between the two model years. See more »
So this Irish guy knocks on this lady's door and says, you know, "Have you got any, uh... Any, uh... work for me?" And she says, "Um, well, you now, as a matter of fact, you could paint the porch." 'Bout two hours later, the guy comes back and says, "I've finished, ma'am, but just for your information, it's not a porch, it's a BMW."
[bar patrons stunned]
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St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray as Vincent, asks us to define the qualities of a saint, while we enjoy the decidedly unsaintly Vincent. He defines curmudgeon, a cranky old misanthrope unhappy with his life and ready to dress down practically anyone who talks to him. The film itself is an amusing character study with unanticipated turns.
But don't think you can write the script because Vincent and the motley crew of his life have surprises that do not fit the usual bitter old guy formula. The saving grace is the honesty Murray invests in the role, which requires him also to display caring characteristics not immediately apparent. That we are probably spying into the eccentric character of Bill Murray through Vincent is an added treat.
The catalyst for the clichéd curmudgeon turnaround is a new pre-teen next door neighbor, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), who is thrust on Vincent for after school babysitting by med-tech mom, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy). While the bonding is to be expected, Vincent and Oliver do a long dance before any saintly traits emerge. Yet Oliver learns what saints don't ordinarily do, like fight and gamble. As we learn, those aren't necessarily negatives.
Although Naomi Watts' Russian hooker is a bit over the top in beauty and heart of gold categories, she manages to project a simple love for Vincent, a symbol for everyone who loves Vincent even as rough as he is. Although Vincent could be loved for only his Vietnam experience, he does low-key, un-Mother -Teresa-like acts of kindness that could qualify him for sainthood.
That's the important theme of this tragicomedy: Being good, loved, and saintly are within the grasp of the most common among us, implying that imperfection is a constant of being human and maybe a bigger credential than piety when that sinfulness is transformed into good deeds.
St. Vincent is an entertaining film with a well-worn message, but Bill Murray, in his finest role since Lost in Translation, transforms it into holiness.
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