St. Vincent is not a holy man. Why, he isn’t even religious. What he is is possessed by his devices. And these are played out with the natural ability of 63-year-old veteran actor Bill Murray. Vincent is a hard drinker. Harder than Vincent’s drinking is his hard living. Yet this does nothing to change this down on his luck New Yorker; despite overdrawn accounts from an addiction to gambling and consequent debts to bookies. In short, his entire life is a mess and he rolls with it, accepts it as destiny. He only cares for Felix, his ugly white cat.
Enter his new neighbors. Twelve-year-old Oliver, a role given to relatively new actor Jaeden Lieberher, is a young boy whose parents have just divorced and is struggling to cope with life at a new school. Melissa McCarthy of televisions hit sitcom Mike and Molly delivers her usual spot on comedic timing as Oliver’s mother who is caught up trying to raise her son, manage a job and in the process of divorce proceedings. Her first encounter with Vincent is less than pleasant but without options agrees to accept him as a baby sitter. In an unlikely scenario Vincent, despite his pitfalls, becomes just the mentor Oliver needs.
British Actress Naomi Watts, who needs no introduction, is convincing as Taka a Russian prostitute and one of many that Vincent frequents. Unlike many actors who exhibit a rehearsed accent, Watts maintains hers throughout the film. And like her hard accent she is rough around the edges. She has to be. After all, aside from sleeping with Vincent she is also extremely pregnant.
Emmy Award winner Laura Rosenthal, credited for casting, assembled an A-list of talent with a purpose and was successful. Director/screenwriter Ted Melfi then uses his experience from 1999s Winding Road and propels you on a similar journey that will make you laugh, cry and then laugh some more. Murray and Lieberher’s relationship and rapport rings genuine throughout a complement of typical situations that are never misplaced. Even the movie extras provide an important participation into the overall plot, which by-the-way never wanders. I swear this is an excellent film. I praise all who made St. Vincent possible.