|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||St. Vincent|
|Production country:||USA 2014|
|Running time:||Approx. 103 min.|
|Rated:||From 6 years|
Vincent (Bill Murray) is not necessarily a dream neighbor. The old man is extremely grouchy, constantly drunk, has regular visits from the pregnant stripper Daka (Naomi Watts) and the grouch with a penchant for horse betting has apparently never heard of gardening. So Vincent is not necessarily a person you want your child to be close to. And so single parent Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) is not at all enthusiastic about the idea that Vincent of all people should take care of her 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). But she has no other choice, because if she doesn't want to lose custody of the boy, she has to assert herself in her new job. And that's only possible if someone takes care of Oliver after school. But in her worst nightmares Maggie would never have imagined that the pensioner would lead her dear son through the hard school of life in pubs, strip clubs or on the racetrack - and thus lay the foundation for an extremely unusual friendship…
For his cinema debut "St. Vincent" director and screenwriter Ted Melfi has inspired himself from a very personal story. After his brother died at the age of 38, Melfi and his wife adopted his 11-year-old daughter, who would otherwise have had to be taken to a home. When the girl then had to write an essay in her school about a saint and people representing him in real life, she chose St. William of Rochester, the patron saint of adopted children, and Melfi as his representative. The filmmaker was so touched and quickly convinced that this story would be perfect for a piece of film.
Fortunately, while writing the script, he resisted the temptation to make an emotional drama out of the material. Rather, his personal experience served him as the basis for a wonderfully quirky comedy, which at first strongly reminds him of Nick Hornby's "About a Boy". But even though the parallels between the two stories can't be denied, Melfi's movie has its very own character in the end. He finds the perfect balance between comedy and drama, between humor and emotion, so that in the end a magical feel-good movie is the result, which offers Bill Murray a real parade role.
Because for the grouchy pensioner with the good heart Murray is simply the perfect cast. As bad as Vincent behaves, thanks to Murray's game you still quickly take him into your heart as a viewer. You can see what Oliver sees in the old man and why he finds a way into life through him that has been denied him so far. That might sound a bit maudlin now, and maybe it would be, if Melfi didn't always incorporate some wonderfully disrespectful and sometimes also a bit malicious humor into the story, which nips almost every form of kitsch in the bud. In the not very original finale he doesn't manage to do that anymore, but since this is also implemented in an extremely charming way and really is the only scene in the movie that is a bit thick, one is only too happy to forgive him for that.
There is no question that Bill Murray wears the movie. It makes "St. Vincent" a real treat every second. But also his co-stars do their thing really well. Naomi Watts gives the sometimes painfully honest "Lady of the Night" a wonderful cold snot, while Melissa McCarthy almost completely withdraws her game and finally once again shows that she can do more than play grimacing trash queens. The biggest discovery, however, is Newcomer Jaeden Lieberher, who seems very natural and fresh. The boy is the perfect counterbalance to Murray's misanthropes, without being too super-cute or too precocious.
"St. Vincent" is a charming little movie, which isn't without its flaws, but at the end spreads so much good humor that small weaknesses are immediately forgotten. At the end, the happy smile on the faces of the audience dominates every somewhat tired gag and makes sure that there is only one admissible conclusion for this comedy: Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp