Loving Vincent

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Loving Vincent Movie Poster Image
Gorgeous, hand-painted images + pulpy murder story.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The postmaster's insistence that the letter be properly delivered shows dedication and respect not only to his job, but also to the recipient of the letter.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character, while still somewhat sympathetic and appealing, is frequently rude and drunk.


Fistfights. Arguing. Blood stains. Talk of whether a man committed suicide (shooting himself) or was murdered.


A character is said to have contracted syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. In the background of a scene, a prostitute has sex with a client; some noises heard. Cleavage.


"D--k," "idiot," "Nancy boy," "damn," "whore."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters often drink to excess, leading to irresponsible actions and severe hangovers. Some pipe smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Loving Vincent is a murder mystery that follows the death of painter Vincent Van Gogh. It's animated in a unique style: It was reportedly entirely hand-painted, with more than 100 artists creating more than 60,000 frames over some seven years. The result is often breathtaking, and though the movie's mix of styles doesn't always click with its pulpy story, it's still recommended for art lovers. Expect discussions of murder, suicide, and gunshot wounds; there's also fighting, blood stains, and arguing. Language is infrequent, with a few uses of "d--k," "damn," "whore," etc. A sexually transmitted disease is mentioned, and a a scene includes sex in the background between a prostitute and her client (some noises heard). Characters drink often and heavily, leading to poor decisions and raging hangovers. Smoking is shown.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byVincenzo P. April 30, 2018

Great movie but for mature kids

Surprised that the expert reviewer missed an open-air sex scene with a prostitute, a bloody chopped ear that Van Gogh delivers in person to another prostitute a... Continue reading
Parent Written byJohn G. March 9, 2018

Not for children

This certainly is a beautiful and artistic glimpse into the life of a famous artist, and I would give it 4 or 5 stars, if only adults were going to watch it. B... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymaciek123 May 2, 2019
Teen, 17 years old Written byT J May 8, 2018

What's the story?

In LOVING VINCENT, famous painter Vincent Van Gogh has recently died, and the postmaster (voiced by Chris O'Dowd) has an undelivered letter for him. The postmaster sends his son, Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), to find Van Gogh's brother Theo, but Armand discovers that Theo, too, has passed away. So the young man continues his travels, visiting Van Gogh's last-known haunts in France, to discover who is most deserving of receiving the letter. Armand interviews many of the people who knew or spoke with Van Gogh and hears many curiously conflicting stories. Some say that Van Gogh may have had a young lover, which complicates matters. And some say that, rather than having committed suicide -- as was the general perception -- the artist might have been murdered.

Is it any good?

Reportedly the first fully painted animated film in history, this seven-years-in-the-making effort is often breathtakingly beautiful. And, truth be told, if you're going to make a movie about Van Gogh, why not make it in beautiful paintings? Loving Vincent is based on the actual people who sat for Van Gogh's works, complete with their clothing and poses, and when the movie re-creates an actual portrait or a landscape, it's awe-inspiring.

But things get more troublesome when the movie includes dialogue between characters; the animation in these sequences is done with rotoscoping (similar to the technique used in Richard Linklater's Waking Life), and the style is less appealing -- it doesn't quite match. Not to mention that these end up being pretty basic scenes of two heads talking. And while the story works as a pulp mystery that's somewhat based on real events, it also feels a little slight for the incredible artistry that went into the filmmaking. That said, while its elements might not all click precisely into place, Loving Vincent is still a very entertaining and gorgeous movie, and it could inspire viewers to look further into Van Gogh's real-life output.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Loving Vincent portrays drinking. Is drinking glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • How much violence is shown? Does it seem out of place, or does it contribute to the story?

  • Who was Vincent Van Gogh? What did you know about him before seeing this movie?

  • What's the effect of seeing "moving" paintings on screen? Do you think the end result was worth all that time and effort?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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