At Eternity’s Gate (2018)

1h 51m / PG-13 / Biography, Drama

Vincent Van Gogh is having little success with his paintings in the Paris of the 1880s. He meets avant-garde painter Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac), who encourages Van Gogh to travel south and out of the city. In Arles, thanks to funding from his loving, supportive brother, Theo (Rupert Friend), Van Gogh rediscovers nature and starts painting his remarkable landscapes and flowers. But when the time comes for his friend to depart, Van Gogh cuts off his own ear with the intention of sending it to him. Deeply troubled and in and out of psychiatric hospitals, Van Gogh paints some of his most important work – but he cannot escape himself.

Academy Award nominee Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate is a journey inside the world and mind of Vincent Van Gogh (played with deep understanding by Willem Dafoe) who, in spite of skepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the world’s most beloved and stunning works of art — though he would never live to see any of that success in his own lifetime. But don’t expect a work of historical or biographical fact. At Eternity’s Gate is based on van Gogh’s letters, the later words of other people around his life, flat rumor and scenes of pure invention — but all of that creative license serves to present not merely a version of the genius painter’s life but how he saw his own life from his own perspective, his lust not just for life, but for the presence of Eternity (or the Divine or God by any name you may choose) in the colors and shapes of this world.