One of the major scenes that stood out was that of the conversation between Armand Roulin and Peré Tanguy. Roulin had asked Tanguy about the last time he had interacted with modern art painter Vincent van Gogh and what his impressions were of him, to which Tanguy replied, “The last time I saw Vincent, he looked calm, he looked like he was at peace. He looked like he had wont the revolution”.
Directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman created this unimaginable film that transports viwers to watch how those who were closest to Van Gogh reacted to the news of his passing in 1890. The first of its kind, Loving Vincent was produced entirely using the special features of pain, with many painters imitating Van Gogh’s style of painting throughout the film.
The story follows the journey of Roulin, who searches for Van Gogh’s younger brother Theo. In his possession is a letter handed to him by his father, (postman Joseph Roulin) that was written by Vincent before he died. Roulin fails in this quest, and so sets out to find a new owner for Van Gogh’s last letter instead.
While searching, Roulin becomes intrigued about the true reason for Van Gogh’s tragic passing at the peak of his artistic career. He refuses to believe that Van Gogh had committed suicide.
Throughout the journey, Roulin interacts with a number of characters, including Van Gogh’s therapist, Doctor Gachet; the boatman; Adeline Ravoux; and Gachet’s daughter, Marguerite, who either had interacted with or seen Vincent during his stay in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.
The characters throughout the film all plant a seed of doubt in Roulin’s impressionable mind. He even struggles to make sense of his own theories until he finally meets Doctor Gachet, which is the most revealing moment of the film.
The combination of the roles of Roulin, Adeline Ravoux (played by Eleanor Thompson) and that of Vincent Gogh (played by Robert Gulaczyk) makes the film as compelling as it is. Adeline Ravoux successfully gains a friend through Roulin, but uses it to her advantage when she gives Roulin her own account of Van Gogh’s last days alive, told so convincingly that it creates in Roulin the impression that Van Gogh’s act of suicide could not be the ultimate cause of his death.
Gulaczyk portrays Van Gogh’s in silence, yet his presence in the film overshadows the others. His facial expressions and painting seem to tell Van Gogh’s story without really revealing anything at all.
Loving Vincent carefully shows how the faces of people who may or may not have interacted with Van Gogh, and who have hardly interacted with one another, can tell the story of the painter. The idea poses an important thought to consider which is carried throughout the film. Van Gogh was surrounded by many people: some loved and supported him, some envied him and others barely gave him any consideration.
In the end, the same type of love that was supposed to make Van Gogh happy, resulted in him cutting off his own ear and later taking his own life.
Love did not save Vincent Van Gogh, but it did create his legacy through his artwork.