Loving Vincent


Director: Emilio Fernandez
Year: 2017
Rating: 10.0
Country: Euro

What a perfectly rendered film. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach by the end. By an animated film of sorts of an artist who died well over 100 years ago. The beauty of this film seeps into your cells, into your consciousness one frame at a time. On the surface it might sound much too precious and pretentious to make a film about Vincent van Gogh that is fully immersed in his style, his landscapes and his portraits, but the aesthetics of this film are so pure and heartfelt that it creates an emotional resonance than comes upon you unexpectedly.

It would certainly benefit the viewer to be somewhat familiar with van Gogh’s life story but even more so with his art. When he moved to a small village in the south of France he painted many of those who were a part of his life – the postman, the daughter of the inn keeper, the gendarme and so on and they all come alive here from his portraits. Van Gogh failed at everything in his life – his relationships, his various jobs and of course his art. In a period of eight years with no training he painted over 800 pictures of which only one was sold while he was alive. Over 100 of those were painted while he resided in a mental institution – two of which were Starry Night and Sunflowers.

It was his brother Theo who believed in his artistry, pushed him into painting and then supported him financially over those years. He was to die not long after Vincent, tied together in some powerful mystical bond. It was Theo’s widow who collected many of van Gogh’s paintings and the correspondence between the two brothers who kept the genius of van Gogh alive and in the public eye.

A man comes to the town where van Gogh died to deliver a letter and in remembrances of others learns about the last days of his life. Historians really have cast doubt on the supposed suicide of Van Gogh as they have that he cut off his ear – theorizing that perhaps Gauguin did it in a fight and Vincent did not want to get him into trouble. Through all these flashbacks a remarkable life emerges in a story that just feels tragically gone wrong.