Bill Murray brings charm to St. Vincent

Amongst the slew of action packed thrillers that have characterized the recent releases of movies this fall, there is one film that breaks away from the rest, offering a light-hearted comedy paired with a talented cast.

St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher, tells the story of a young boy, Oliver, who forms an unlikely relationship with his elderly neighbor, Vincent.

Vincent, played by Murray, is the epitome of a stereotypical and grouchy old neighbor. With a cigarette constantly hanging from his lips and a bottle of bourbon never far behind him, he is hardly the type of man who would be likely to befriend a child. “He doesn’t like people, and people don’t really like him,” says Oliver in one scene about Vincent.

The film, set in Brooklyn, New York, explores the idea of what it means to be a saint in the present day. Ironically, Vincent is hardly the type of person who would be considered a modern day saint. Throughout the course of the film, he is seen committing various crimes. From stealing and gambling to selling drugs, Vincent would rather spend the majority of his time at the local bar and strip club rather than in a church. His bitter, sardonic, comments ward off anyone who attempts to instigate a conversation, with the exception of Oliver.

Although he treats him no differently than the rest of the world, Oliver remains unaffected by Vincent’s gruff nature. Despite his flagrant flaws, Oliver sees goodness in Vincent that he keeps buried within himself. Slowly but surely, a gentler side of Vincent is revealed to the audience, so that despite his offensive, sarcastic comments and bad habits, it is almost impossible not to like him.

The film, although incredibly heartwarming, proved to be relatively predictable and cliché.  Although many members of the audience had tears in their eyes during several scenes, the plot-line was neither unique nor compelling. Murray’s portrayal of Vincent drives the film, leaving the audience wondering what he will say or do next. Without him as the leading player, the film would have fallen flat, echoing over-used stereotypes of adjusting to a new place and finding the good in people who on the surface may seem bitter and unapproachable.  However, despite these stereotypes, the film’s writing has its own unique sense of humor that gives it unique charm.

Lieberher, who stars as Oliver, also plays a major role in driving the plot and maintaining the audience’s interest in the events unfolding on the screen. In his debut film, Lieberher is able to capture the essence of Oliver and how it feels to be a kid, looking up to the adults around you, even if they do not always prove to be ideal examples.

Overall, St. Vincent’s subtle comedic charm and talented cast made the film a light-hearted and enjoyable, but may leave audiences longing for a more compelling and unique story.