If I were to pick a favourite artist, I would probably choose Vincent Van Gogh. I have a poster in my room that is inspired by his painting Starry Night, and was done in his signature style. So, if you combine that with the fact that I found out my favourite actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, played Van Gogh in a BBC TV Movie…well, it went to the top of my list of things to watch.
The film gets its lines from real letters that Vincent wrote to his brother Theo—the exact wording. Benedict’s performance is, once again, spectacular. He takes the words and phrases and really showcases the talent he possesses in his voice. He easily demonstrates the pain that Vincent was feeling, but also the love that he possessed for art, and his eloquence with his (Vincent’s) words on certain occasions.
Throughout the film you get flash-forwards in Vincent’s life—in particular his stay in a mental institution after he cut off his ear. The choices the director made were good ones, my favourite being the scenes that compose the time when Vincent shot himself.
At certain points during the film, Benedict would look straight into the camera and would essentially “break the fourth wall” while delivering his lines. I imagine this was meant to make the viewer feel as if they were Theo and they were receiving these letters, although this still felt a bit jarring and bizarre to me. That being said, I will admit that it helped with the impact of some of the lines.
The only other thing I would say is that I wish there were more scenes of Vincent actually painting, but nevertheless I would recommend this film if you enjoy biopics/documentaries, history, and of course artwork and Benedict Cumberbatch!