For decades, many have loved, admired and even worshipped at the alter of Bill Murray. Then in 2003's ‘Lost in Translation’, he showed us a whole other side which solidified his genius as an actor. Since then, he’s ridden the independent train with filmmaker Wes Anderson, stretching his acting legs, and now he’s helping the first timers out, choosing to star in what may very well be his Oscar-winning role as Vin, the misanthropic, hedonistic neighbour in ‘St. Vincent’.
First time feature writer/director Theodore Melfi has established a well-rounded cast of comedians and dramatic actors, role reversing them in an interesting casting twist and creating a love story unlike any other.
Layabout, hooker-loving, gambling addict, borderline alcoholic war veteran Vin doesn’t have the introduction to his new neighbours anyone was hoping for. When the removalist van of single mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) hits Vin’s tree and a branch smashes into his vintage car, a friendship isn’t exactly made. But when Oliver is locked out of his house one afternoon, he turns to Vin. A desperate and reluctant deal is then made for Vin to become Oliver’s babysitter, and an interesting and unexpected relationship begins to blossom - one that both of them truly needed.
Everyone in this film is exquisite, from 11-year-old Lieberher, to Naomi Watts as a pregnant Eastern European stripper/prostitute and Vin’s only friend. Melfi is a revelation, from his words to the performances he inspires. Each frame is warm, funny, loving and poignant, despite appearances.
While some might find ‘St. Vincent’ a little on the sentimental side, you simply cannot deny the bright spark that is Murray and Lieberher’s magical chemistry and charm together on screen. The 11-year-old newbie plays perfectly opposite the 64-year-old comedy veteran, and they both manage to bring out the best in each other.