Movie Review: St. Vincent
Bill Murray has had a long and distinguished career focusing primarily on comedy. He has been given a project in St. Vincent that offers him the same opportunity offered Bruce Dern last year. Dern was an academy award nominee after a long career playing character roles in typically predictable and cliché films.
Murray has combined his talent and experience over the years and has the role that brings him to serious consideration for an academy award nomination, in this comedy with depth and meaning.
It is the story of a man living a fundamentally unsuccessful life in almost all aspects of his existence. He is simply getting by, living day to day, and sees little hope for his future.
Then he meets a boy who moves in next door with his mother. She has a busy work schedule as a nurse and pays Murray to baby sit her son. Murray takes the boy to the racetrack, bars and other unorthodox situations that most parents would find unacceptable.
Melissa McCarthy offers a wonderful performance as the boy’s mother and when she learns of her son’s escapades with Vincent, she cancels his baby sitting responsibility.
Murray moves through the emotions of his character with an earthy, real essence and draws the audience to his life of frustration. In the midst of all this, his wife, who has been living at a home for years due to mental issues, passes away and adds to Vincent’s sadness.
Nonetheless, Vincent overcomes and finds meaning in his small and defined world.
When the students at the Catholic High School which Melissa McCarthy’s son attends are given the assignment to nominate someone they know for sainthood, he nominates Vincent. As the child makes the nomination from the stage in an assembly in school, Vincent is in the back of the room listening. Murray gives an excellent performance as his character is nominated and you sense the passion and humble response to this honor.
Jaeden Lieberher offers a terrific performance as the child who is the focus of Vincent’s attention and gives him meaning and purpose in life.
Bill Murray now has the project and performance of his career and will be an academy award nominee. It was Bruce Dern last year and Bill Murray this year.
What this points out is the need for the right project for an actor with the talent but without the vehicle to demonstrate that world class performance. These actors have now accomplished that goal.