Vincent de Van Nuys is a Saint. He’s not your regular Saint like the ones that have gone before him; he drinks too much, swears like a sailor, spends time with prostitutes and gambles. What makes Vincent a Saint are much deeper qualities that evolve during the course of the movie.
When Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) moves in with her shy son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) Vincent becomes an unlikely baby sitter and mentor to the young Oliver. The Vietnam veteran exposes Oliver to his hedonistic lifestyle by taking him to the race track, local dive bar and strip club, and a bond is born. Taking on the role of father, mentor and friend, all to the unbeknownst to Oliver’s mother Maggie, even teaches Oliver to fight. In a touching scene Vincent visits his wife, suffering of Alzheimer’s where the audience learns of the real reasons that Vincent has shut himself away from the world. As the friendship develops, his heart begins to thaw and Saint Vincent emerges.
Bill Murray shines with his outstanding portrayal of Vincent. He depicts the cantankerous, acerbic Vincent with such believability that it is touching. As Oliver’s mentor he may be unconventional, but there is a goodness in him that only Oliver sees and the audience are exposed to.
Naomi Watts plays Russian stripper Daka who spends time with the pair and is an unlikely companion for Vincent. She is just as abrasive as Vincent and the two keep company throughout the movie. Watts is an unusual pick for the role and at times she is brilliant – especially when she is tormenting Vincent.
The film wins over the audience by letting Bill Murray just be himself and he takes the role on with the voracity that only Murray can. He is brilliant and holds the movie on his own. The support cast are all wonderful in their roles but Murray really shines when he is at his (dis) pleasing best. As we strip back the layers of the character Vincent, Murray allows us to be touched by his wonderful performance. It allows us as viewers to remember that sometimes people are not as they seem and that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.
Reviewer: Amanda Starkey