I have been awaiting the release of Loving Vincent for over a year. It’s a full length feature film that was animated by 63,000 oil paintings in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, and not surprisingly, it is about his life. An ambitious project, I was concerned no one near here would be showing it, but I was happily surprised! A half an hour away there was an adorable tiny theater attached to the town hall of Wilton NH. They were charging an admirable $7 admission. I knew I had to go. I was planning on going alone, though I can’t say I was thrilled at that prospect (this seemed like an experience I wanted to share with someone.) So when I ended up with a friend that day we went together. I didn’t know what to expect of the theater or the film. This could be either amazing or horrible.
It was a very easy place to find, though there was no parking. I found a spot across the street but I guess there is municipal parking nearby. The theater was marked with two sandwich boards on the street. I opened the large church-like doors and was greeted by a large staircase and a couple bathrooms, marked by a large sign reading,”Gentlemen to the left, because ladies are always right.” No ticket booth or consignment stand? No people? It seemed awfully quiet but if there was going to be anything going on it’d be up those gorgeous stairs. Up I went!
At the top there was a tiny consignment counter also selling tickets. The smell of fresh buttered popcorn wafted in the air. I paid the sweet old man at the counter for my ticket and asked to see Loving Vincent as there were two movies running tonight – the other being Victoria and Abdul. How excited I was to find somewhere that played British films!! I always get to hear about all these cool British films but never get to see any because American cinemas don’t play them. I pondered if this place ever played French films… That’d make me absolutely giddy… but back to the story. The ticket taker told us we’d love the film, I smiled and said I hoped so! To my left I found the screening, it was so adorably old timey in appearance, a small theater screen in the front complete with curtains. 100-150 simple chairs were set up. There were perhaps 30 people here. I chose a seat in the middle and settled in.
When the movie started it didn’t take me long to adjust to the unusual animation method. I almost immediately recognized some of the actors from watching too much BBC… It started out rather rough with a somewhat unlikable character, the son of the postman who was given a letter from Vincent to his brother to deliver a year after Vincent’s death. He’s harsh and angry at this task, especially after finding out Vincent’s brother had died six months after Vincent did, and now he had to find someone else to give the letter to. What followed was interviews with half the town, an impromptu three day investigation, that was absolutely heart wrenching. Although the investigation was fascinating, full of twists, turns, half-truths, and missing information, the characters gave something so much more… the emotional devastation wrought by the suicide of a man who clearly left a very big impact on everyone he met. Every character added more depth, more layers, more sorrow. I do not cry at movies but this had me on the verge for over an hour and did manage to make my friend cry. It ended with a revelation that was such a gut-wrenching twist that I also felt a bit nauseous at it all by the time I left but having said this all I can say is WOW. This was probably the best movie I have ever seen – so artfully done it tackled some hard subject matter with such tenderness! If you’re someone who likes art, drama, or sad movies, you must see this. It is a masterpiece! And I will be back to the Wilton Theater, no doubt, to see what else it has to offer.
**Photos were not taken by me. Hopefully for my next adventure I will remember my camera!