Whenever I find myself in a funk, there’s nothing like a
good movie to lift my spirits. Right now I have Bill Murray and writer-director
Theodore Melfi to thank for St. Vincent,
which gave me an evening of pure pleasure. It couldn’t have come at a better
time. My family and I are going through a stressful period, having just moved
to a new house after twenty-four years. We haven’t gone far, but it’s still a
big adjustment and we’re living in a sea of boxes. We’re dealing with an
endless parade of workmen, reliable and otherwise, and that movie title The Money Pit keeps coming to mind.
What better time to see a charming fable like St. Vincent? It opens in theaters on
Friday and I encourage you to see it, especially if you’re in the mood for
something upbeat. Gone Girl is a
great piece of work, but it doesn’t leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling about
the human condition. St. Vincent, on
the other hand, reminds me of a Damon Runyon story: its main character may not
be completely realistic, but he’s the kind of guy you wish you had in your
life. On the surface he’s completely disreputable, a misanthrope who drinks and
gambles too much, barks at his new neighbors, and seems to be thoroughly
irresponsible. Melissa McCarthy plays a newly-single mom who moves next door on
a residential block in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn with her young son and winds up
having to rely on Murray to babysit him after school every day.
That’s all I’ll reveal about the story. It isn’t that
Melfi’s script is so dependent on the element of surprise, but I knew nothing
about it going in, and so enjoyed meeting his colorful cast of
characters—played by McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, and
the pitch-perfect Jaeden Lieberher as the boy—that I’d love you all to have the
fun of discovering them for yourselves, as I did.
I shouldn’t be running this review before the film opens on
Friday, but I couldn’t resist sharing my enthusiasm, all the more so because the
movie did something I cherish, and don’t experience often enough: it lifted my
spirits. It couldn’t have come at a better moment.