Loving Vincent – Film Review

Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted animated feature film. With a team of no less than 125 professional artists, each of the film’s 65000 frames are oil paintings on canvas in the style and technique of Vincent Van Gogh. The film brings Van Gogh’s most famous paintings to life and is truly unbelievable and incredible to watch. It really felt like I was watching magic happen before my eyes and was reminded a lot of Harry Potter in that retrospect, as the paintings were moving.

Loving Vincent is a biographical animated drama film about the life and death of Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh. When a letter that Vincent writes to his brother Theo Van Gogh returns undelivered, Postman Roulin’s son Armand Roulin is given a mission to find Theo and deliver Vincent’s letter. Armand is reluctant to deliver the letter at first, but is soon enthralled with the circumstances of Vincent’s death.

Although visually stunning, Loving Vincent also has an enchanting score and wonderful acting. Douglas Booth as Armand Roulin shines in his performance; his talents blending with the painted frames to create something special. I also recognised Chris O’Dowd straight away as Postman Roulin who puts on a convincing performance despite having little screen time.

A song is featured in the credits titled “Starry Starry Night” which is performed by Lianne La Havas and was written specifically for the film. The song has beautiful lyrics and is ironically a tribute within a tribute. My heart broke as the story of Vincent Van Gogh’s life unravelled during this film. A misunderstood man and late bloomer, Van Gogh painted over 800 paintings in just 8 years and only 1 sold in his lifetime. Van Gogh’s other paintings were not sold or made famous until after his death.

The hero of Loving Vincent is neither the creators, actors, the artists nor the paintings, but the spirit of Vincent Van Gogh himself. Loving Vincent is a bitter-sweet tribute to the artist. Even 127 years after his death, Van Gogh’s works are some of the most recognised paintings in the world, with Van Gogh considered one of the most influential painters in history. While I did love this film and was moved to tears, I only wish Vincent knew of the legacy he left behind. And although the film is a tribute to the now celebrated artist, Loving Vincent has become a masterpiece in its own right.

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