St. Vincent

Posted on 07. Jun, 2015 by in Live Action Cat Films

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00P1WGHLI” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NRMoiRf2L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”catfilms-20″ width=”114″]In the movie St. Vincent ([easyazon_link asin=”B00P1WGHLI” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”catfilms-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]available on DVD[/easyazon_link]), Vincent, the “mean” old man who lives next door to the single mother and the young son he ends up baby-sitting when the mother has to work late, makes a truly bad impression at first meeting and several times afterwards. However, an ambiguous symbolism hints to his young charge Oliver that he cannot be all bad: he owns a fluffy white Persian cat who is seen to sit on his lap or body on more than one occasion, and has more than a cameo part in the movie. When Vincent is seen at home, the cat is usually seen near him. When the cat is friendly to Oliver, and Oliver says he’s good with animals, Vincent says the cat is not usually friendly with many people, especially those who say they are good with animals.

 

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While Vincent’s appearing at times with the cat on his lap or in his arms calls to mind the imagery of a well-known James Bond movie supervillain for whom being seen with a similar cat was a trademark, the fact of ordinary Vincent’s owning and properly caring for a cat, especially such a conspicuous and high-maintenance breed, is a way of portraying the fact that despite a rough exterior and a lack of regard to what is considered appropriate for children, he does possess and exercise some inherent goodness and caring for dependent creatures such as the cat, who gratefully sits on his lap and purrs in one crucial scene in the movie.
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He also financially cares for his wife, who is suffering from early Alzheimer’s, and doesn’t remember him. While he doesn’t do personal care (except for taking her laundry with him), he does remortgage his house and otherwise spend himself into financial purgatory to pay for a nursing home so deluxe Oliver sees it and says “this place is like a mansion”. While Vincent is laid up in the hospital with a stroke, the cat appears in a scene back at his house where Vincent’s girlfriend Daka calls it a “stupid cat” as it eats canned cat food while on a counter in the foreground. The cat is later smuggled into the hospital where he fulfills his mission to try to cheer Vincent up by sitting on his lap. The cat is later seen back in Vincent’s home (where he attempts to eat Vincent’s sandwich) upon Vincent’s return. Though the cat has the less-than-imaginative name of Felix, he is clearly a part of Vincent’s life and far from neglected, in spite of Vincent’s general neglect of himself and his surroundings. (Being a white cat, it is obvious he is sparkling clean.) Vincent’s compassionate and self-sacrificing qualities are summed up in young Oliver’s presentation for a Catholic school assignment at the end of the movie, in which he prepared a talk and projected slide show wherein he unearthed Vincent’s saintly qualities which co-existed in the midst of his bad ones. Among them was the fact that “the cat eats gourmet cat food, while Vincent eats sardines. Because saints make sacrifices”.
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The production notes of St. Vincent reveal that Bill Murray is allergic to cats. So, in the service of acting the role, Bill Murray made a serious sacrifice and is perhaps a better actor than he is given credit for. The cat made some sacrifices, too: “that cat happened to get washed, shampooed and blown dry so he had no dander,” jokes Murray. “I don’t think he even had hair oil because he was so clean. He’s a pro cat.” However, it is revealed later on in the production notes and by Vulture.com that Felix was in fact played by two individual cats “Teddy” and “Jagger”.
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