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Vincent and Theo

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History can sometimes be just a lifeless and boring sequence of events, even the history of such a supposedly inspiring subject as art. However, when those events are brought to life by people’s experiences of that time, the living conditions, and the feelings rather than dates the study of history may be one of the most rewarding endeavors. The movie “Vincent and Theo” helps the audience to live out the lives of the characters together with them. It is an extremely emotional film that tells the story of Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theodore. One of the characters, Dr. Paul Gachet, says wonderful words: “This man is not sick. He’s an artist. We, the rest of us, are the sick ones. We are not artists. We’re just people, working people, boring people, just people”. The irony of this quote is that the doctor did not actually believe in his own words, but he unknowingly pinpointed the truth about artists being misunderstood and underappreciated by common people.

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The movie appeals to the viewers first of all because of its great characters that show a wide range of human emotions and struggles. Theodore, the brother of Vincent, is one of the most important figures in the film and also in the artist’s life. Throughout the whole movie one can see how Theo supports his brother, sends him allowances, and always comes to help if something is wrong. The acting is brilliant because it is rather easy to sympathize with this person and understand him. As the film progresses even those people who are not familiar with the life story of Vincent and Theodore van Gogh can vividly see that Theo was worrying a lot about the conditions of his brother and was blaming himself for not being able to sell his painting. One can see his struggle well in his relationships with his employers, when he tries to stand his ground in terms of salary but is also afraid to lose his job because so many people depend on him. The deep love Theo has for his brother and a feeling of loss and grief eventually drives him mad and he dies one year after Vincent.

Another person who is important for the understanding of van Gogh’s story is Paul Gauguin. The relationships of these two artists are shown to be challenging but in some way interdependent. Van Gogh was very fond of Gauguin himself and his work. He also listened to Paul when it came to the matters of art. Of course, the style of van Gogh was not profoundly changed by the external influences, which is remarkable. Gauguin and van Gogh spent some time in the south of France, painting, drinking, and living a low-quality life. This is a period of van Gogh’s life that was marked by his famous cutting off his ear. Watching the movie one can perfectly understand why this happened.

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There is a temptation to justify the accident with his psychological illness but the emergence of it is not strange at all. The audience is convinced by the movie that van Gogh has been extremely insecure when it came to his paintings. He could not sell them and he honestly did not know how good they are. This was an artist profoundly lacking in appreciations of his work and talent, even though he painted magnificently. The viewers can also see how much influence Gauguin has on Vincent as a person. Unfortunately, the appreciation did not even come from Gauguin, who was not a random person. He is virtually Vincent’s only companion and friend in this place where they live. So, it is no wonder that Paul’s decision to move back to Paris is a hard blow for his fellow artist. It is not too farfetched to claim that Vincent experienced a feeling of betrayal and abandonment. That is why, together with his fragile psychological condition, he had an impulse to hurt himself.

The life story of Vincent van Gogh is unveiled in a very subtle but powerful way that allows the viewers not only get acquainted with the work of the artist but also evaluate the conditions and people that surrounded him. This film generally leaves a feeling of remorse because of the fact that great artists were driven into the state of physical and emotional misery while now their paintings sell for millions of dollars to private collections.

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