There’s a Lot to Love in Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent is an Oscar-winning film that is produced by two studies:
“Breakthrough Films” and “Trademark films.”

The movie, which pays tribute to the legendary artist, Vincent Van Gogh and features an applaud worthy cast of Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, and Chris O’Dowd

Before I critique, I challenge you to think for a moment:

What comes to mind when one thinks of Vincent Van Gogh?

Maybe it is the iconic “Starry Night,” painting, with its strokes representing his struggles and thoughts on the next life through obscure expressionism with short gestured lines.

Or, it could also be the Bedroom in Arles, which focused on a solid color for each object and later depicted by texture.

Digging deeper, there is then  the famous Van Gogh “Self Portrait,” in which is resembles similar gestures and artistry from the renowned “Starry Night” background, by means of focusing on the dramatic color scheme, which is usually shown throughout his works.

From the swirly lines to the short strokes, we enter the life of a man who struggled to find his place in the world.

Vincent van Gogh once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

With, “six years of creative development, over 1,345 discarded paintings, out of 65,000 frames from 125 painters,” according to the film’s website, it took many small things to create this great labor of love for one of the most influential painters of all time.

Loving Vincent makes history by becoming the first ever oil painted film, frame by frame.

Like most of Van Gogh’s art, every frame’s painting is breathtaking and captivating. However, its lack of a compelling story does not make it the definitive piece on Van Gogh’s life.

Van Gogh’s famous works out of his 800 paintings are given an excellent treatment by the 125 painters involved.

Some of these works include “The Church at Auvers,” “The Yellow House,” “The Night Café,” and “Café Terrace at Night.”

These types of paintings serve as the film’s settings.

Meanwhile, works like “Portrait of Patience Escalier,” “Dr. Paul Gachet”, and “Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin” are where the characters come from.

These paintings, and more, beautifully replicate Van Gogh’s style stroke by stroke.

The painters nail every detail in Van Gogh’s work from the ripples in the water to the detailed expressions of someone’s face.

It is as if the viewer is standing in front of Van Gogh’s very own work and the painting is reaching out to talk to us.

When Van Gogh’s works are not featured during the handful of flashbacks, the painters consistently recreate his style through black and white.

Although flashbacks can be a lazy way of storytelling, the painters make these moments something to look forward to.

Not only is there a lot more information on the life of Van Gogh provided during these times, but the attention to detail may feel even more lifelike with their use of broader strokes.

It is impressive how the black and white moments still have an impact when stepping out of Van Gogh’s colorful world.

Although its animation has depth through incredible attention to detail, the story does not.

The story written by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, and Jacek Dehnel, centers around “Armand Roulin,” played by Douglas Booth, who attempts to send Vincent Van Gogh’s last letter addressed to his brother.

It is imnportant to note that he character of Roulin is inspired by a series of portraits Van Gogh painted while in Arles.

When Roulin finds out Van Gogh’s brother has passed, he must find someone who rightfully deserves to have the letter. This eventually turns into a murder mystery, debating whether Van Gogh actually killed himself.

It attempts to tell some things about the life of Van Gogh through flashbacks and “personal accounts,” but it mostly feels like a drama.

After the experience, one will have only gained some significant knowledge on Van Gogh.

However, Loving Vincent compared to 1956’s Lust for Life does not come close in providing information on the painter.

Starring Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh, Lust for Life is a biographical look into the painter’s life from his time as a missionary in the coal mines of Belgium, up until his tragic death.

If one wants to learn more about Van Gogh’s career and troubled personal life, Lust for Life will give the viewer a better perspective.

On the other hand, Loving Vincent serves as a nice tribute.

The tradeoff for having a flawed story is its mark in film history as the first ever oil painted film.

While it could improve upon the story, there is no denying the amount of effort put into making a fitting tribute to Van Gogh.

It could pose a challenge for one to wrap their head around the thought of accomplishing such an ambitious goal.

Every movement of the characters, changes in facial expression, and camera motions must be brushed by hand for 65,000 frames.

Another incredible factor of the animation is how well done each frame is.

From beginning to end, the paintings are remarkably consistent and beautiful.

While the task is arduous, the painters and crew were driven to complete this film for the love of Vincent van Gogh.

The tortured artist’s work not only influenced the post-impressionism movement of the early 20th century, but for generations to follow.

Loving Vincent not only stresses the importance of celebrating the artist’s work, but brings it to life as well.

In conclusion, Big Mouth is not for the faint of heart. It’s rude and occasionally gross, but it’s also hysterical and occasionally thoughtful.

Sure, those who decide to dive in and watch might squirm through the ten episodes, but it is very promising that viewers will also laugh and won’t be able to stop from talking about this very weird, very original show.

On that note, a little word of advice from a Big Mouth veteran: Maybe check your heart rate first, and then give Big Mouth a try.