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Review: Murray is still at the top of his game in heartfelt ‘St. Vincent’

2014-10-31-St-Vincent-movie-posterBy MARK VIOLA

Bill Murray is one of those actors who is so good at what he does that it’s often hard to tell if he is playing a role or just simply being himself. He just seems so natural in front of the camera, finding the nuances to make his characters come to life. It takes true skill to make what you do look easy, but that is exactly what he does movie after movie.

His latest movie, “St. Vincent,” features another character who is not immediately likeable, but has quite a few layers once you spend some time with him.

“St. Vincent” is from writer/director Theodore Melfi, who makes his feature debut here with a film that is both very funny and very poignant, with characters who feel both real and relatable. Although you could argue the story ties itself up a little too neatly at the end, this is a journey that is well worth the trip, thanks to smart writing and an excellent cast, led by Murray in one of his best performances in years.

Although the ending may feel a little too tidy, the writing and acting showcased in the 95 or so minutes leading up to it makes the result feel earned. “St. Vincent” may not be the funniest comedy released this year, but is easily the most heartfelt.

The film is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language.

(This is a shortened version of the full review available in our printed or e-edition papers.)

 

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