In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist's final letter and ends up investigating his final days there.
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Felix van Groeningen
Jack Dylan Grazer
In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
During a self-imposed exile in Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh develops his unique, colorful style of painting. While grappling with religion, mental illness and a tumultuous friendship with French artist Paul Gauguin, van Gogh begins to focus on his relationship with eternity rather than the pain his art causes him in the present.
Vincent Van Gogh:
I just want to be one of them. I would like to sit down with them and have a drink and talk about anything. I'd like them to give me some tobacco, a glass of wine, or even just ask me, "How are you today?" And I would answer, and we would talk. And from time to time I'd make a sketch of one of them as a gift. They would accept it, maybe, and keep it somewhere, and a woman would smile at me and ask, "Are you hungry? Would you like something to eat? A piece of ham, some cheese, or ...
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There's a mid-credits scene, where a Paul Gauguin quote is narrated. See more »
This film succeeds in various ways: Dafoe delivers a marvelous portrayal of van Gogh, and Rupert Friend offers a dignified performance as Theo, his brother. The production design, costuming, and lush landscapes are all outstanding. As someone who has seen most of the films directed by Schnabel, I find him an insightful, astute director, yet I wish he would have introduced more nuance into certain scenes.
The invigorating piano score suffers from an overblown volume at various times. At the pre-release screening, more than a handful of people walked out of the film, midway. I think they were overwhelmed by a dizzy combination of loud music and jumpy, blurred camera techniques. As for me, the approach worked, adding a visceral punch.
Some of the dialogue was culled from Vincent's letters to his brother, and Dafoe rendered the text with a vulnerable immediacy. Several roles were aptly cast, but could have benefited from additional screen time: Isaac (as Gauguin), Almaric (Dr. Gachet), and Seigner (Madame Ginoux).
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