Review: ‘Loving Vincent’

From receiving little to no recognition during his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh left behind works of art which would impact the world and inspire many artists to come. Van Gogh’s bold, dramatic brush strokes added a sense of movement to his works which would guide the viewer’s eyes through his paintings. In Loving Vincent, directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, these movements populate the screen to create a never-before-seen visual experience that immerses the audience into the artist’s most famous paintings.

Over one hundred classically trained oil painters worked on the production of Loving Vincent to create each frame of the movie using the same technique as Van Gogh. In total, 65,000 frames were oil-painted on canvas, which resulted in not only an animated feature film, but also a magnificent work of art. It is no wonder the Het Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands is exhibiting over a hundred oil paintings created in the making of Loving Vincent.

A different approach was also used in the telling of the story. Instead of a biography, Loving Vincent begins one year after Van Gogh’s death with Armand Roulin, whose father was a close friend of Van Gogh. Armand’s father asks him to personally deliver Van Gogh’s last letter to his brother, Theo, after previous attempts to deliver the letter failed. Although Armand was not very fond of the painter, his journey to deliver the letter allows him to see a Vincent Van Gogh he did not know before.

Armand retraces the artist’s steps, which gives the audience a chance to see Van Gogh’s artworks in a unique way as paintings such as “The Starry Night” (1889), “Café Terrace at Night” (1888), and “Wheatfield with Crows” (1890) are brought to life in the screen. When recreating Van Gogh’s paintings to tell his story, Loving Vincent lives by the artist’s own words: “We cannot speak other than by our paintings.”

Director: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

Screenplay: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

Genre: Drama, Animation

Running Time: 1h 35m

About the Author

A 25-year-old Brazilian getting lost in the Big Sky. I like movies, books, chicken wings, and unfinished stories.