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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

It takes a village to raise a child.

St. Vincent

Plot Overview

The screen is still dark as we hear the sounds of drinks being poured in a bar. One of the patrons holds forth with a story of an Irish­man who stops at a house and asks, “You got any work?” He's offered: “You could paint the porch.” After he's finished and collects his pay, he remarks, “It's not a Porsche; it's a BMW.”

The joker Vincent MacKenna (Bill Murray) is found later smoking in bed. Daka Parimova, Russian “lady of the night” (Naomi Watts), tells him, “OK, ass­hole, giddy up!” After an exchange of money, she leaves for her dance gig at Mr Wedge, Adult Enter­tainment, saying, “See you next Tuesday.”

Vincent goes to his realtor to learn he can't get any more money on his house on account of “There's a cash-out limit.” He goes to his bank to learn he's over­drawn (“You went below zero.”) He drives his old woody home running over his picket fence and mail­box as he pulls in. Then he passes out on his kitchen floor to the tune, “Don't You Want Somebody to Love?”

Meanwhile, a bus pulls into Sheepshead Bay, NYC. Maggie Bronstein (Melissa McCarthy) and her 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) move in next door. He's enrolled in St Patrick's School—where they wear uniforms. When the teacher, Brother Geraghty (Chris O'Dowd), inquires about Oliver's religion, he replies, “I think I'm Jewish.” He gets to pray, “Thanks be to God.”

Vincent loses more money at Belmont Park. When Maggie is detained at her job as a CAT scan tech. at Mission Hills, she has “Vincent the old guy” (the mean one) baby sit Oliver for a fee. He feeds him sardines (“sushi.”) At school they ponder the question, “What is a saint?” Saints are “individuals who display and act out exceptional holiness.” After school some of the bullying kids waylay Oliver who is rescued by Vincent (“Get movin', you little shits!”)

Vincent visits a sweet old lady at Sunny Side Residence for the Elderly. He dons a white lab coat to become her “Dr Vincent” and remarks, “You're still beautiful.” We hear mention that Vincent had served in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, a suit hands some papers to Maggie (“You've been served.”) She tells the sympathetic school officials, “My ex wants custody.” Oliver meets Daka (“Who is she?”) She's “a lady of the night, one of the more honest ways to make a living.” Luck is not with Vince at the track (“You praying?”), but Oliver brings him temporary good luck (“It is what it is.”)

In Family Court Maggie's ex, trying to get joint custody, documents the unwhole­some influence of Vincent the baby sitter on Oliver. At school Oliver lionizes Vincent for his good influence. As the closing credits scrolled down, I over­heard one old lady tell her companion, “It's fictitious, but it could happen. So many people like that.”


There's an artistic interplay of the two threads starting with that first joke. Just as a car doesn't get a coat of house­paint, so a visiting husband doesn't wear a doctor's coat. And Maggie for her part was wearing too many pounds to keep her upscale husband from philandering. Every other woman in the movie was a trim dish, but she was an over­weight disha­bille. What do you figure a husband is going want to do? The movie “Sex and the City” illustrated well the point that a married woman has some responsibility to keep her­self looking present­able.

Maggie we see snacking on a candy bar. Vincent's wife Sandy (Donna Mitchell) complains to Vince about the vegetables they're feeding her at the rest home, her quick memory leading me to suspect she's not suffering from clinical dementia so much as just having blocked Vincent from her memory. Could that be Vincent's fault?

Vince treats her like a queen, and at home he treats his Persian cat like royalty. In an Abbot & Costello short shown on his TV set, one of those clowns dressed like a lion tamer cracks his whip at the beast whom the camera reveals as a mere kitty cat. When Vince chases away the bullies, he's holding a tire iron, like the tamer was holding a whip, and he threatens to beat up the kids' mothers. Through this confluence of images, it is suggested that Vince, perhaps after his military tour of duty, came on a bit too strong commandeering his pussy cat wife causing her to retreat inside her mind. At any rate now he's doing royal penance.

Oliver for his Saints Among Us school project, takes on the role of the youthful Elihu in the book of Job sorting out who is righteous. Job 33:14-18 shows God imparting instruction through sleep as Vincent got hit with it right before he met his new neighbors. Job 33:19-22 shows a soul being chastened through illness as was Vincent in his recovery. Job 33:23-26 shows a man owning up to a virtuous life once some­one stands up for him, as Oliver did for Vince regarding his war heroism and instances of self­less­ness after­wards. (Heb. 6:10) “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love.” A series of rules the church may use to disqualify one from saint­hood (e.g. Titus: 1:7-8) can be passed off by a third party as ordinary flaws in the other­wise saintly man who's been a good mentor à la Titus: 1:9. There's a joint custody of saint­hood, between the Church and the layman.

Production Values

St. Vincent” (2014) was directed by first time feature film­maker Theodore Melfi who also wrote its screen­play. It stars Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O'Dowd, Terrence Howard, and Jaeden Lieberher. Naomi Watts did terrific as the Russian lady of the night. Her accent was spot on. Bill Murray is always good. Melissa McCarthy suc­cess­fully played contrary to type the harried mom who had to take what­ever break she could get.

This film is adult-oriented due to language and a single sex scene. It's rated PG–13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language. It was filmed in New York City. The music was mostly pop songs from the Vietnam era. The script was mediocre and predict­able but still allowed for laughs and a touching ending.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

While it didn't break any new ground, “St. Vincent” still managed to be engaging. It's worth the time to see it; just don't expect a whole lot of originality.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.