Vincent & Theo (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Vincent & Theo (1990)

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Robert Altman's masterful, sensitive portrait of Vincent Van Gogh (Tim Roth) and his brother Theo (Paul Rhys), based on letters written by the painter to his art-dealer brother is a beautiful story of love and compassion between two brothers. Altman unflinchingly shows Vincent, single-minded and intense in the increasingly desperate search to capture his unique vision on canvas, despite his horrible poverty and increasing mental illness. Theo, seeing his brother's genius -- and admiring and loving him despite Vincent's difficult personality and the strain this causes on Theo's own life -- sustains Vincent and tries to sell his work to an indifferent public. Finally, Vincent, in complete despair because of his illness, enters a sanitarium and spends several months of frenzied creative effort, producing some of his most beautiful and memorable paintings. When his work is finished, he kills himself. Theo, lost without his beloved brother, and himself very ill, soon dies. In a deeply insightful performance Tim Roth manages to capture the essence of the creative spirit and the pain and despair of mental illness. The final scenes of the movie, as Vincent hurries to finish his work, are profound and sensitive. Roth deeply understands and communicates Vincent's complex, and at times unpleasant, character as well as his genius. Paul Rhys is also unforgettable in a loving, compassionate but unsentimental performance. Rhys effectively communicates Theo's love for Vincent despite his flaws -- which explains why Theo is willing to sacrifice much of his own life to sustain him. Impeccably accurate, Vincent and Theo ranks as one of best biographical films ever made. It was originally aired as a four-hour mini-series on European television.
  • Rating:
    PG-13
  • Genre:
  • Directed By:
  • Written By:
  • In Theaters:
     limited
  • On DVD:
  • Runtime:
  • Studio:
    Hemdale Film Corporation

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Cast

Tim Roth
as Vincent van Gogh
Paul Rhys
as Theodore van Gogh
Jip Wijngaarden
as Sien Hoornik
Vladimir Yordanoff
as Paul Gauguin
Wladimir Yordanoff
as Paul Gaugin
Jean-Pierre Cassel
as Dr. Paul Gachet
Bernadette Giraud
as Margueritte Gachet
Adrian Brine
as Uncle Cent
Jean-François Perrier
as Dr. Paul Gachet
Vincent Vallier
as Rene Valadon
Hans Kesting
as Andries Bonger
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Critic Reviews for Vincent & Theo

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (10)

This was Altman's most watchable theatrical feature in about a decade, and the actors always keep you guessing.

Full Review… | October 10, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This masterwork operates in the intimate, thoughtful vein of the great BBC bios of artistic figures.

Full Review… | October 10, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

[A] film that generates the feeling that we are in the presence of a man in the act of creation.

Full Review… | July 14, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Nowhere does Altman sermonise about the artist's greatness; his achievement is allowed to speak for itself. If only more film-makers had such confidence and integrity.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The enjoyment in Vincent and Theo comes more from the director's attention to art history than from his ability to interpret it anew.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

An Altman masterpiece.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Vincent & Theo

Vincent and Theo features the quirky, voyeuristic style of Altman and has Roth in an intense but human role. I am only vaguely familiar with the story of Van Gogh; I cannot tell whether I would find the plot better or worse if I did know the story. As it is, I find the plot neutral but rate the film up a bit based on the actor / director pairing. Recommended to fans of Altman and Roth.

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer

½

In spite of its awful score and how the narrative appears at times as fragmented as the characters' psyches, this biopic impresses us with a beautiful cinematography and art direction, as though seen through Van Gogh's own eyes, and it has Tim Roth and Paul Rhys in fantastic performances.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

While I sentimentally love the Doctor Who version of Vincent Van Gogh, this is the definitive dramatic take of an artist on the brink of madness with few pennies to his name.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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