Film Title: Loving Vincent
Directors: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Release Date: September 22, 2017
If there’s ever such a beautiful things my eyes have laid almost 2 hours on, it is this film. It is the world’s first ever first fully painted feature film and is comprised of over 65,000 individual frames. I was blown away throughout the entire film and have as much respect for the story as the artists who were able to create it. Being that it was such a different experience visually, I was worried that it would be difficult to watch. The colors seemed to shimmer and glisten from frame to frame and I wondered if I’d be able to pay attention to the storyline. But no fear, after a minute or so the world bloomed in front of me and I am now convinced that every film should be hand painted.
I’d seen a teaser trailer almost a year before watching the film but hadn’t reviewed it recently and so I was pleasantly surprised with the result. I only expected some scenes to be painted or I figured there’d be some grand narration of the art itself as in a documentary, but this is really just like any other film with characters that are brought to life by some amazing actors, a solid and interesting plotline and oh, the scenery! Actors such as Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, and Chris O’Dowd are painted into this film! Once again, I thought there would be characters that were drawn up and put into the movie, but the actors are instead fully immersed into the film and they look so incredibly real. And I was so pleased by how many different “cameras angles” were included. There were a variety of long shots that showed the locations beautifully, as well as close up shots as we walk directly behind characters. There were even artsy art shots, which for some reason my mind could fathom as being possible when done through paint, but there’s a scene that shows up in the trailer where Van Gogh is moving his hand through water and you can see the water moving and Van Gogh’s reflection through that and it is stunning.
In terms of the actual plot, we follow a man named Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth) as he tries to deliver a long lost letter in person that was written by Van Gogh to his brother. It takes place a year after Van Gogh died and so Roulin’s father, who was Van Gogh’s postman and friend for a while, thinks it’s important for it to be delivered. This delivery turns into an entire journey as Roulin has to track down multiple people and becomes enthralled by discovering how Van Gogh was led to his death. There’s a supposed mystery to his death and the townspeople have a lot of things to say about Van Gogh, both good and bad.
What I love about this film is that it is not trying to declare the absolute truth. No one can really know the truth, and so it’s exciting trying to weave through the mystery and seeing how many people were affected by Van Gogh. We get to learn about the people who knew him as much as we learn about himself. And I think, at least for me personally, it really made me appreciate Van Gogh, if not even for the art itself, but despite what he may have lived through, his ability to create something beautiful.