St. Vincent

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
St. Vincent Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Quirky, smart, stirring buddy comedy has some edge.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Don't judge a book by its cover, there are saints all around us, and redemption is available to anyone whenever they're ready.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Oliver is a wise, patient, forgiving kid who understands the frailty of grown-ups. Vincent is an acquired taste, but he means well and makes an effort to treat the people he loves with his best effort at caring. It may not be the textbook way of demonstrating affection, but he does care.

Violence

Loan sharks get ready to rough up a client who owes more than he can ever pay. A grown man teaches a boy how to physically confront his bullies, tips that the boy later puts to use, yielding a bloody nose.

Sex

A pregnant prostitute is shown sitting atop a client; she's only wearing a bra and underwear. It's implied that they're having sex, but no sensitive body parts are revealed.

Language

Fairly frequent language includes "s--t," "hell," "a--hole," "dips--t," and a use of "f--k." A woman refers to a disabled person as "retard."

Consumerism

Many visible products/brands, including JC Penny, BMW, Payless, Facebook, Amstel beer, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man is intoxicated a lot, sometimes in the company of the kid he's babysitting. He takes the kid to a bar, and he sometimes drives while he's got a buzz on -- which he's unapologetic about. He smokes like the proverbial chimney and won't quit.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although St. Vincent explores the unlikely -- and quite charming -- friendship between a crabby, rough-around-the-edges man named Vincent (Bill Murray) and his new neighbor, a kid named Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), it's not entirely heartwarming or kid-friendly. Vincent is an imperfect, maddening man who often swears ("s--t," "a--hole," etc., plus a use of "f--k") in front of Oliver, takes him to places unsuitable for kids (a bar, for one), and generally tests the bounds of conventional childcare. Expect plenty of scenes in which characters smoke, drink to excess (sometimes driving while impaired), and have sex (viewers don't see much beyond a woman in her underwear sitting atop a guy). There's also a scuffle between kids that ends in a bloody nose, and loan sharks who want to rough someone up. Oliver's parents are bitterly divorced.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 14-year-old Written bySarah H. May 28, 2018

Had potential, didn't need to be dirty.

Watched with my kid in the room not expecting to see the old guy get ridden in the first 2 minutes. Then, 15 minutes in, he's at a strip club with a pregna... Continue reading
Adult Written byNWinNorCal June 21, 2017

Good movie, but Common Sense Media totally underplays sex elements

No only is there the opening sex scene, which is clearly in the act (even if no body parts are shown), but there's a strip club scene a bit later as well.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJaedenpwns December 30, 2014

Great movie! Great values!

St Vincent was a film I didn't plan on watching but when I did I loved it. Bill Murray was a great actor and the story was just great. I feel that we can l... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymassie11 December 14, 2014

Pretty.....AMAZING . A hidden gem

me and my friend saw this instead of ouija i did not want to see ouija so i made her see this. she knew nothing and loved it . so did i . we were the youngest i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Vincent (Bill Murray) is far from saintly in the conventional sense: He drinks like a fish, swears like a sailor (at everyone, even kids), and once even steals. He has a gambling problem, too, and a predilection for a certain pregnant prostitute (Naomi Watts). But when his new neighbor (Melissa McCarthy) and her young son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), move in next door, Vincent can't help but be roped into their lives, serving as a babysitter and ad-hoc male role model for the boy. But Oliver is no regular kid. Faced with the dismantling of his family -- thanks to his parents' bitter divorce -- he's a complicated, realistic kid looking for a complicated adult to help him understand the world. And in Vin, he glimpses much more than the washed-up grown-up seen by everyone else.

Is it any good?

Here's the thing about buddy comedies: You have to care about both parties separately, as well as the central friendship itself, for them to be a success. Lose one or the other, and you have a movie that might be fleetingly enjoyable but ultimately forgettable. ST. VINCENT is anything but forgettable. Gifted with a strong cast led by Murray -- who out-Murrays his own previous cheekily brilliant performances -- and a meandering but still compelling story that somehow ties in divorce, Alzheimer's, and race-track gambling, the movie feels like good jazz should: dizzying and moving. We care about Vincent because Murray makes him real enough despite his outrageousness, and we care about Oliver because Lieberher, aided by a script that dares to make a child multi-dimensional, works hard to imbue him with personality and all sorts of complicated emotions.

Laced through it all is a message about judgment. Or, rather, the metamorphic powers of abandoning it. What makes a person a good person? That they pay bills? Look put together? Mow a lawn (or even have a lawn)? Though the film at times strains credulity (and the audience's patience) by pushing Vincent to do meaner and crueler things (see: the scene in the bank regarding a wrongful withdrawal), it nonetheless makes a strong case -- somewhat messily, but still -- for taking people as they are and accepting the gifts that they give willingly, despite sacrifices and personal cost.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Vincent and Oliver's friendship. What draws them to each other? What do they learn from each other?

  • What is the movie saying about the nature of a person's goodness? What makes someone a "good" person? Can Vincent be considered a role model?

  • How does the movie depict drinking and smoking? Are there realistic consequences for both?

  • St. Vincent paints a pretty sad picture of Oliver's parents' divorce. How is he processing it? How has it affected him and his mother?

Movie details

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