Bill Murray Is An Unlikely Mentor In This New Arrival On Netflix

Bill Murray's St. Vincent has just arrived on Netflix.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

bill murray

What do you get when you combine two comedy legends into a sentimental dramedy about life and an unlikely friendship? The answer is the 2014 critically acclaimed film starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy called St. Vincent, which was just added to Netflix, according to JustWatch.

Written and directed by Theodore Melfi, who also wrote and directed the impactful 2016 biopic Hidden Figures, St. Vincent stars Bill Murray as a cynical alcoholic Vietnam War veteran named Vincent whose wife has Alzheimer’s. Vincent’s only friend is a pregnant Russian sex worker named Daka (played by Naomi Watts) until a boy named Oliver (Jaeden Martell) moves in next door with his mom Maggie (McCarthy) after his parents got divorced. The film follows Vincent and Oliver as they develop an unlikely friendship.

As an independent production, St. Vincent received a limited theatrical release, but it was passed through numerous film festivals. The movie ended up making $54.8 million, becoming a box office success as it only cost $13 million to create. Bill Murray was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, but he lost to Michael Keaton, who won for Birdman that year. 

bill murray

However, St. Vincent did manage to accrue quite a few nominations and wins from various award ceremonies, even if the star of the show, Bill Murray, didn’t take home any trophies. Jaeden Martell (who was credited as Jaeden Lieberher) took home the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by a Youth in the Male category and the Best Youth Performance according to the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, McCarthy was the runner-up for the Best Supporting Actress as accredited by the Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards, and Melfi won the Truly Moving Picture Award attributed by the Heartland Film Festival.

While St. Vincent isn’t a biopic, it is based largely on parts of the director’s own life, with much of Vincent’s character being based on Melfi’s own grandpa, whom the director said was also gruff and unconventional. 

bill murray

After playing the character, Bill Murray said he felt a personal connection to Vincent, more so than he has in other roles in the past. Murray revealed that he saw Vincent as someone who had “given up” on life but still possessed a sense of humor and resilience. Murray’s own experiences with loss and the ups and downs of life resonated with the character, making his performance in St. Vincent particularly heartfelt and nuanced.

The movie was praised by critics who loved to see Bill Murray back in the comedic action. Most critics believed that Murray truly deserved his Golden Globe nomination, and had the competition not been so fierce that year, the actor probably would have won. The main complaint critics seemed to have over the film was that as a comedic drama, sometimes the feature veered a little too close to overly sentimental, taking away from the overall entertainment factor of the movie.

Even before St. Vincent, Bill Murray has a rich history with independent films, often collaborating with emerging filmmakers and taking on unconventional roles. As a Hollywood A-list actor, Murray has the privilege of being able to take on any role and not worry about implications to his career, like being typecast or labeled as an independent actor unable to handle a blockbuster feature. His involvement in indie films has showcased his versatility as an actor and allowed him to explore unique characters and narratives.

In 1998, Bill Murray earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of the disillusioned industrialist Herman Blume in the coming-of-age drama Rushmore directed by Wes Anderson. This marked the beginning of Murray’s collaboration with the indie filmmaker, which has lasted nearly 30 years. While Murray isn’t in Anderson’s upcoming film, Asteroid City, the actor has collaborated with the famously stylization-prone director numerous times since Rushmore, including in The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Currently, Bill Murray has two upcoming productions in the works, the first of which is Bum’s Rush, in which Murray voices a stray dog that develops a deep connection with a bootmaker played by Anne Hathaway. The film is currently in post-production, but it currently does not have a release date.