Starring: Bill Murray, Jaeden Lieberher, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Nate Corddry, Ann Dowd, Scott Adsit
Directed By: Theodore Melfi
I can understand why some critics didn’t like St Vincent. It was advertised as being a little more like ‘Bad Santa’ than it really ended up being. Pretty much from the beginning, you know that Vincent is a good guy trapped in a harsh exterior. It’s not as crude as you might have thought, and it has some really serious moments in it that the trailer leaves out (and I will likely spoil, so run away now…)
What I really loved about St Vincent is that Bill Murray gets to run the gauntlet, so to speak. He plays a really solid antihero, who we all come to adore by the end of the film. We love him, because he takes care of his wife who doesn’t remember him anymore. We love him because he steps up as a surrogate father for the prostitute he’s been seeing. We love him because through the bullshit, he offers some sage advice to Oliver. And Bill Murray gets to have a showy acting role, finally, when Vincent suffers a stroke.
Murray has been on the “shoulda been nominated” list a couple of times, and I have a really bad feeling St Vincent is just another one of those roles. But, I can’t help but feel like he deserves to be nominated here. If not for the recognition of this work, but for the recognition of all the times the Academy got it wrong. Another really fine performance is logged by Melissa McCarthy, who gets to finally show some acting chops outside of comedy, playing a struggling mother just trying to keep it together. Both actors deserve nominations for their work, but it will be Murray’s snub that will be felt more (as McCarthy is already an Oscar nominee).
Maybe it is too fluffy, or too “goody”, or everything is wrapped up really nicely. I don’t know why we started hating feel good movies, but it seems like some people roll their eyes now at them. This is a feel good movie, and I felt great afterward. It was one of maybe only a handful of films I saw this year that I would have immediately watched again, and plan to definitely pick up on DVD. If I had to directly compare it to a film, I would compare it to Enough Said, another really good indie film that got awards attention, but ultimately came up with very little awards love.
Maybe he’ll at least get a Golden Globe nomination?
FINAL GRADE: A