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Sunday, April 5, 2015

St. Vincent (2014)

The modern depiction of family is taken to the extreme in this downbeat comedy, where there is profound sadness but also laugh out loud moments.  Much like life.

Bill Murray plays a he plays a grouchy, alcoholic ne’er-do-well who has lost lots of money at the track and regularly has sex with a pregnant Russian prostitute (ably played by Naomi Watts).  He is flat out broke, overdrawn at the bank, and in desperation he hires out to babysit the 12-year-old son, Oliver, of his new neighbor. In another movie, Vincent McKenna would be a tragic figure: As the movie opens, we see him stumble-down drunk, perilously driving himself back to his Sheepshead Bay home, taking out his fence in the process and passing out on his kitchen floor.  And there is definitely that element here.  But the whole point of the movie is for the audience to see where all that bad behavior comes from.  He is a decorated Vietnam veteran and a devoted husband to his demented wife who lives in a skilled nursing facility.  His lack of caring about himself belies his underlying nature, and Oliver, caught between his warring parents, susses it out.

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