I have always thought of Vincent van Gogh as the poster child for suffering artists and for mental health advocacy. But beyond him cutting his ear and committing suicide, I really didn't know much of his life. I've also encountered his painting "Starry Night" and the Don McLean 1971 song "Vincent".
Hence, when I saw that "Loving Vincent", a movie about his life, was already showing in cinemas, I decided to watch it at first opportunity. Luckily, Joyce was also available to join in watching this film.
It's interesting that this film was made to resemble cartoons; except that instead of simple illustrations or computer graphics, the each frame of the animation was an oil painting on canvas. These oil paintings were made by 115 artists and featured van Gogh's famous strong, thick strokes. In itself, the movie is a visual masterpiece.
The plot happened supposedly a year after van Gogh died. It followed Armand Roulin as he attempted to deliver Vincent's last letter to his brother, Theo. It turned out, through Armand's tracing of Theo's whereabouts, that the younger van Gogh had died of complications of syphilis. The letter eventually ended up with Theo's widow, Johanna. In his search for van Gogh's family, Armand was confronted with a few theories on why van Gogh committed suicide: a case of unrequited love; an effort to reduce the worries of his brother who was already sick; and someone else shot the gun that left him wounded in the torso (there's a murder mystery angle to the story).
In the end, whatever drove Vincent to take his own life couldn't be clarified. His last letter to Theo, however, resonated true with the movie:
"Well, the truth is, we can only make our pictures speak."
-- Vincent van Gogh