Van Gogh's notable piece "Cafe Terrace at Night" in "Loving Vincent." (BreakThru Productions)

Arts and Entertainment

‘Loving Vincent’: A fusion of unparalleled artwork and emotion

This endearing work of art will move and soften even the most hard-nosed, cynical cinematic critic.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/sanyatinaikar/" target="_self">Sanya Tinaikar</a>

Sanya Tinaikar

April 8, 2022
Animated movies like “Coraline,” “Spirited Away” and “Soul,” showcase captivating narratives laden with multi-faceted characters through their gripping imagery. And the ground-breaking feature film “Loving Vincent is certainly no exception. In fact, “Loving Vincent” does something entirely different from its peers: touted as “the world’s first fully painted feature film,” it brings world-renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh’s extraordinary works to life in a series of picturesque, undulating frames. 

Set in ​​Auvers-Sur-Oise, a commune in Paris, France, the film establishes eccentric characters — subjects of Van Gogh’s portraits — to tell his tale, rather than follow the painter himself through the trials and tribulations of being an unappreciated artist.

We are instantly plunged into the world of passionate investigator Armand Roulin, a disgruntled alcoholic in a canary yellow overcoat prone to barroom brawls. When his postmaster father tasks him with the mission of sending late Vincent’s final letter addressed to his brother Theo, he traipses across the mountainous topography of Auvers-Sur-Oise like a vagabond, interrogating the inhabitants of the town about why Vincent’s life ended so abruptly. 

A fluid amalgamation of lightfast pigments and earthy colors, this Oscar-nominated film merges two of the most revered art forms — cinema and painting — into something undeniably extraordinary, displaying the complete oeuvre of Van Gogh. The characters live in a world of Impressionism and iridescence, thin and thick brush strokes, pastel and prominent colors — nuances that highlight the intricacy and unprecedented depth of Van Gogh’s illustrations.

Along with the twists and turns of the macabre murder mystery narrative, the film leaves viewers enthralled by the complexities of each artistic technique, the idiosyncrasies of the characters and the emotional gravity expressed in a breathtaking setting. 

Bravely, the film takes a gamble: arresting graphics can elevate the risk of outshining other vital cinematic components, draining the narrative as lackadaisical. But as the movie progresses, there’s more to the storyline than just jaw-dropping animation.

An intention reveals itself behind every frame, conveying a tender message to viewers about the importance of cherishing life. Every moment forges sentimental relationships between the subjects of Van Gogh’s works and the master himself, enriching compassion and familial love. And in the end, the mystery of the painter’s death becomes less noteworthy compared to the legacy he carved. 

Presented with an eclectic palette of colors, “Loving Vincent” doesn’t just pay homage to the prolific creator — it recounts a powerfully poignant narrative about rooted depression, evocative art and human affection. The weighty film makes you appreciate singular moments in life and those around you in a heart-warming, exquisite way.

With its remarkable ability to depict emotional and artistic beauty, this endearing work of art will move and soften even the most hard-nosed, cynical cinematic critic.

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