Animated films are all the same nowadays so it’s great to see one try something different. What can be more fitting than a film about famed artist Vincent Van Gogh and his life looking like a living oil painting?
Synopsis: On July 27, 1890, a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. This was Vincent van Gogh, then a little known artist; now the most famous artist in the world. His tragic death has long been known, what has remained a mystery is how and why he came to be shot.(Mongrel Media)
Starring: Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, and Robert Gulaczyk
Writers: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, and Jack Dehnel
Directors: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 94mins
For showtimes and more, check out on Loving Vincent movietimes.com.
The “animated oil painting” gimmick was definitely not a gimmick as it worked very well here. In an age of mostly computer-generated animation, it is refreshing to see something different like this. All the animation was hand painted by a team of over 100 artists and all that hard worked showed as the film took seven years to make. The film did an excellent job at creating a living world through its animation and terrific score that was always a joy to watch.
Of course the title refers to Vincent Van Gogh and the story is about the last few months of his life before his tragic suicide July 29th, 1890 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The story explores this from the perspective of a young man named Armand Roulin (Booth) who was tasked by his father Joseph Roulin (Chris O’Dowd), a postmaster and close friend of Vincent Van Gogh (Gulaczyk), to deliver a letter from Vincent to his brother Theo (Cezary Lukaszewicz).
Armand’s journey took him to a village in Paris where he heard various accounts of the events leading up to Vincent’s suicide by the townspeople. Over time, Armand became more and more interested in his story and then became invested in discovering the truth about what really happened. There have been plenty of theories as to what really happened but we didn’t get a definite answer here.
It was through Armand’s investigation and these accounts that we learned about Vincent’s loneliness and his struggle with mental illness. We got glimpses of Vincent’s emotional breakdown through a series of powerful flashbacks but it would have been nice to explore more of Vincent’s inner struggle on a personal level as we only had other characters’ accounts to go on. Armand’s investigation was compelling to watch, however, some may find the story as a whole a little too slow.
It’s remarkable how to set of actors in the film resemble the real life people they were playing (the end credits show pictures of each). The animation managed to capture the likeness of the actors almost perfectly by capturing the actors performing the scenes in live-action and then animating them for the film. The voice acting was great all around but the dialog is rather simplistic and may not elicit excitement for some.
Overall, this was an excellent animated film with a very unique animation style that may never be replicated and should be one seen on a big screen. The source material may not be for everyone while the film may be too slow for some as well. Whether or not you are a fan of art, the world they have created here was both beautiful and full of life and the story was compelling to watch.