Loving Vincent (2017)

I'm a lover of van Gogh. To that add the fact that Loving Vincent is the first fully hand-painted on canvas feature film (it took a team of 125 artists to make it). In other words, I was very excited about this animated film. I'm glad it turned out to be such a successful experiment. 

The film is set a year after van Gogh's (Robert Gulaczyk) death, and it follows the journey of Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), a young slacker who is tasked by his father (Chris O'Dowd), a postman, to hand deliver van Gogh's final letter to his brother, Theo van Gogh, but ends up investigating the mysterious death of the artist.

It's basically the retelling of a story many people already know, but the filmmakers were able to transform the life and death of van Gogh, one of the most controversial painters ever, both during his life and after his death, into a very fascinating, mysterious detective story that examines the cause of his death. It makes us wonder whether he really committed suicide or not. And it poses us such a question without giving it an answer and leaving the each of us to decide. That, along with using the letter as a plot device, is what made it work for me. 

Another important aspect of the film is the characters. Some of them directly come from van Gogh's work and letters, others are only inspired by them. Some are more likeable than others. But they have something in common, they all are very interesting characters with their own personalities and they are beautifully portrayed by the actors among which Chris O'Dowd stands out as the postman.

Altitude Film Distribution
And then there's the animation. Loving Vincent is easily one of the most visually stunning animated films that have been made. As I said above, it was painted with oil on canvas, using the same technique as van Gogh. Each frame is a different painting with a very rich texture, so rich it feels like watching a real oil painting. Some (the present) have beautiful and rich colours, while others (the past) totally rock black and white. The animation is so smooth, it still can't believe that technique was used, and the characters are so full of expression that their feelings come through beautifully. 

If you haven't seen this yet, I urge you to do so because Loving Vincent is a must-watch for art and movie lovers alike.


  1. I saw the trailer and was super intrigued. Such a brilliant concept. What are your favourite paintings of his? I've always been a fan but seeing so much of his work in his museum in Amsterdam was a joy.

    1. The Almond Blossom (I believe this one is in Amsterdam) and The Starry Night.

  2. Lovely review! The trailer looked so gorgeous. I'm hoping to catch it on demand sometime soon. :)