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Loving Vincent (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 94 minutes


Ordinarily I would not be caught dead sitting through a feature-length animated movie. However, I was sucked into this one because I did not read the invitation closely enough and when I realized that it was animated, I was already there and was basically stuck.

So sometimes things work out for the better because this film blew me away. It’s animated, yes. But this isn’t your normal animation with hundreds or thousands of cartoonists sitting in a room drawing their panels or with modern-day computerized animation. This is an amazing work consisting of 65,000 frames of film each of which is oil painted by hand by 125 oil painters who traveled from all across the world to the studios in Poland and Greece to participate in the production which can only be described as one-of-a-kind.

The film takes place in 1891, one year after the death of Vincent van Gogh from a gunshot that has generally been described as self-inflicted. However recently I have become aware of stories that he did not commit suicide. In this film Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth) is tasked with delivering a letter given to him by his father, Postman Joseph Roulin (Chris O’Dowd), to hand deliver it to the brother of his father’s friend, van Gogh, who they have just learned had committed suicide.

Unhappy with this task, Armand nonetheless becomes kind of a detective as he travels to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent spent the last 10 weeks of his life and died on July 29, 1890. Thus begins the investigation into how van Gogh actually died which, in itself, is fascinating. But what really makes this film special is that the animation is in the style of van Gogh. For almost two hours everything you see could have been painted by Vincent himself.

This is an outstanding movie and it will be astonishing to me if it does not win the Oscar® for Best Animated Feature. This film is truly a wonderful dream to sit through and enjoy.