Story

St Vincent is a film that follows a middle-aged Vietnam veteran (Bill Murray) who is living a hedonistic, misanthropic existence, with little money or future to show for himself. Vincent’s life takes an unexpected turn when his neighbour requires a babysitter for his 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Vincent accepts for a fee, but instead of merely wasting some time and receiving payment, he discovers a unique and rewarding friendship with the young boy.

Vincent goes on to mentor and teach young Oliver in the ways of life, street survival, self-defence and a range of other things. The two go on adventures together, and Oliver begins to see beyond Vincent’s facade of bitterness and misery.

Themes

Relationships and friendship; war veterans; divorce; role models

Violence

St Vincent has some mild violence. For example:

  • A young boy is taught how to defend himself against bullies. He later follows these tips and punches a bully, leading to a broken and bleeding nose – a cracking sound can be heard as this happens.
  • At the beginning of the film, a man screams in pain after accidentally hitting his hand with a hammer. After this, he slips and hits his head on the floor. There is a small pool of blood on the floor as a result of this.
  • A loan shark confronts a client who still owes him money – Vincent says he will fight back, but has a heart attack before this happens.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
Children in this age group are most likely to be scared by the violence described above.

From 5-8
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in St Vincent that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight. For example:

  • Oliver’s parents are divorced, and this affects him considerably – he strives to obtain an alternative role model to teach him about the world.

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie. For example:

  • During a dancing sequence, many of the girls present are dressed in very sexually provocative, revealing clothing. One is dancing and grinding on a pole while being watched by men. 
  • There are references to a woman being a ‘lady of the night’, as opposed to using the phrase sex worker or prostitute.  

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie. For example:

  • Vincent smokes and drinks alcohol multiple times in the movie. He is intoxicated whilst in the company of a child, as well as while driving.
  • Vincent takes Oliver into a bar – the boy only drinks coke.
  • A man steals prescription pills in order to make money, but later discovers that they do not produce any high and are therefore not worth much.

Nudity and sexual activity

St Vincent contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • At the beginning of the film, a pregnant prostitute is seen sitting on the lap of an older man – she is wearing a bra, and he is in a tank top. The bed is seen rocking and it is implied that they are having sex. 
  • A pregnant woman is wearing very small shorts, and bends over to take something out of the fridge – a man watches her do this as some of her underwear is on display.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • References to, and depictions of, Facebook.
  • BMW cars. 

Coarse language

St Vincent contains considerable coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

St Vincent is a story of friendship, self-acceptance and personal growth. It depicts the unlikely bond that forms between a war veteran and young child, both of whom appear to have similar levels of realism about the world and complexities within their personalities. The film demonstrates that it is important not to judge people before truly getting to know them, and that it is possible for even the most disillusioned of people to find joy and happiness through new experiences and relationships.

Despite having a child as a main character, this is definitely a movie for adults and is not recommended for children under 15 because of its themes, violence and coarse language.

Parents of older teens may wish to discuss a number of issues which arise from the film, including:

  • the impact of war upon soldiers and veterans
  • the possibility for anyone to redeem themselves, despite the sins and wrongdoings they may have committed
  • irresponsible substance use, such as being intoxicated around children or drink driving
  • the consequences of divorce upon children.