Loving Vincent is showing in our cinema until 1 December, but due to its popularity, it is likely that we will programme extra screenings in the new year. Check the event page or join our mailing list to find out.
Loving Vincent is not a documentary. Loving Vincent is not a detective film. It is not a historical re-construction. In the sense that Vincent Van Gogh did not paint landscapes, but mindscapes, soul-scapes, the feeling of which is deeper than all of the strokes and textured layers of paint; Loving Vincent is not a re-construction, it is an impression.
Visually stunning, the film is let down perhaps only by its narrative, which veers from the intricacies of Van Gogh’s life, to the complexities of his death, often getting lost in the story of the wayward impromptu-detective (Douglas Booth) on the trail of Vincent’s suicide. “You want to know so much of his death, but what do you know of his life?” asks Marguerite Gachet (Saoirse Ronan) aptly.
Nonetheless the film succeeds, the sheer achievement of its meticulously hand painted frames is a testament to this. The cinematic framing, though fantastically reminiscent of Van Gogh’s work, still feels somehow at times as if some potential has been missed. It is tempting to allot this to shock and novelty that fades a little into shot-reverse-shot composition in parts, that could have made greater use of the phantasmic vistas of Van Gogh’s renown. Yet it is hopeful that it will come to inspire painted-film of a similar vein.
Taking place after his death, the film exists in a world indelibly transmogrified: bright, vivid and remote, a world apart from the scenes of flashback investigation, rendered in black and white. Just how much the world might silently change in the duration of the artist’s life. Just how much that which seemed forgotten would come to illuminate. It should be treated as an impression in the fullest sense, an imperfect view into a world reshaped by the artist’s life. Personal yet distant, heartfelt but misled, the film demands to be seen, to be understood, for it is mired in the mystery that was Vincent Van Gogh’s life.