Length: 94 minutes / 1.57 hours
Animation has become somewhat easier since the days when every frame was drawn out by hand. This change has been mostly due to the use of computers to simplify the animation process. And yet, there are still those who want to embrace the painstaking process of manual animation, mostly for the artistic merit that it gives the film. Usually, this is done in short form, like the stop-motion film, Fresh Guacamole (2012) by PES, or the paint-on-glass animated short, The Old Man and the Sea (1999). Both of these short films were nominated for the Animated Short Oscar, with the latter winning the prize.
With Loving Vincent (2017), we now have a feature-length (albeit at a short 94 minutes) animated feature that took the time to recreate the aesthetic of Van Gough’s paintings via a plentitude of hand-painted oil paintings that comprised the individual frames of the film. If awards are given for artistic merit alone, Loving Vincent deserves to win all of them. I was in awe of how the famous paintings we all know came to life through the animation process, almost making me wish the movie would slow down so I could appreciate each brushstroke (some lathering on paint so thickly that the film could be considered “3-D”).
While I was dazzled by the animation, the plot was also pretty good, albeit probably the film’s weakest point. I knew a few details about Van Gough’s life, but the “investigation” of this film certainly made his genius and tragedy stand out. Not only did the film touch on mental health issues, but it highlighted how extraordinary Van Gough was. For someone who was in the art scene for a mere eight years, he made an incredible impact despite only selling one piece while he was alive.
A visual treat and a heartwarming tribute, I give Loving Vincent 4.5 stars out of 5.