St. Vincent Review (TIFF2014)

Posted 3 years ago by myetvmedia

Theodore Melfie direct’s his first feature film with “St. Vincent (14)”. Helming both the roles of writer and director, Melfie assembles a stellar cast and crafts a beautiful story about a man who superficially has nothing beautiful about him. Melfie depicts the age old saying, one shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. The Toronto International Film Festival is the World Premiere for “St.Vincent”.

Vincent (Bill Murray) is an alcoholic gambling addict with very little to his name and a terrible attitude. Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), a sweet mother and son duo, move in next door to Vincent. Maggie is recently divorced and is looking for a fresh start but being a single parent is tough role to manage. She works late hours at the hospital, trying to make enough for her and Oliver to make ends meet. As a result she requires someone to watch over him after school; enter Vincent.

This film has very complex characters and a ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ vibe to it. It’s quite clever and Bill Murray’s performance along with the on-screen new comer Jaeden Lieberher, who plays Oliver, have an irresistible chemistry together. Murray is the seasoned veteran but both he and Jaeden deliver performances effortlessly. It’s rare to see such talent and poise in such a young actor.

The depth of the cast is truly apparent with the supporting roles in the film. Naomi Watts plays Daka, a pregnant stripper. Terrence Howard plays Zucko, a bookie looking to collect on a debt owed by Vincent. And finally, Chris O’Dowd is Brother Geraghty, a priest and teacher at Oliver’s school. O’Dowd’s classroom scenes are gut busting. His off the cuff delivery and timing is incredible.

The film has an independent feel even though, it’s funded by The Weinstein Company, a powerhouse of an ally in the film world. The audience had the pleasure of hearing first hand Melfie’s truly authentic praise for his executive producers during his world premiere. His excitement to finally have made the jump from short films into long format was inspiring and completely made possible because of the collaboration of The Weinstein Company and Chernin Entertainment. His previous short films include: The Story of Bob(05), The Beneficiary (08) and Roshambo (10).

It’s evident that Murray’s playfulness on set and long career of successful film’s has made it’s way into the character of Vincent. Murray is able to create humor even in the most mundane moments, like walking to the teller at a bank. Melfie wrote the script, but Murray helped bring it to life. And it pays dividends in some hilarious moments.

In his directorial debut, Theodore Melfie proves he belongs in Hollywood.

Chris Murphy

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