Australian Council on Children and the Media

Loving Vincent

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Not recommended under 13; parental guidance 13 to 15 due to disturbing scenes and themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Loving Vincent
  • a review of Loving Vincent completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 November 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to disturbing scenes and themes
Children 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to disturbing scenes and themes
Viewers 15 and over OK for this group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Loving Vincent
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 95 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The graphics in the animated film Loving Vincent are based on the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, and it is the world’s first totally oil painted feature film.

The film is set one year after the death of van Gogh from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Joseph Roulin (voice of Chris O’Dowd) postmaster and close friend of van Gogh, has an undelivered letter written by the artist just prior to his death; the letter is addressed to Vincent’s brother Theo. Joseph entrusts the delivery of the letter to his son Armand (voice of Douglas Booth), but when Armand attempts to deliver the letter he discovers that Theo is also dead, leaving Armand wondering to whom he should deliver the letter.

Armand travels to the town where Vincent lived, hoping that he might gain some insight into how the artist could go from being reportedly content to suicidal in six weeks. He soon finds that everyone who knew Vincent had a different view on how he met his death.

By the film’s end the audience gains some insight into the life and trials of the painter, who over an eight year period produced over eight hundred paintings while selling only one.  However there are still many unanswered questions surrounding his death.      

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Suicide; self-mutilation; sexually transmitted diseases; mental illness

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

  • The film contains several physical fights involving punches to the head and kicks to the stomach
  • There are a number of verbal arguments      
  • Vincent’s severed ear is given to a woman wrapped in a napkin and he is seen lying on a bed holding the side of his head with blood covering his hand and face.
  • There are references to Vincent killing himself because he had a breakdown.
  • Bullies torment Vincent by throwing rocks at him and taunting him while he is painting. Later, reference is made to the same bullies being responsible for stabbing him.
  • In one scene we see Vincent staggering along while holding his stomach, with a large patch of blood seeping through his shirt and blood on his hand. We hear Vincent say that he tried to kill himself.  Later we see Vincent lying in bed with Theo holding his hand as he dies.
  • A doctor talks about how Vincent was shot, discussing the angle of the bullet’s entry and exit.

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A group of teenagers torment Vincent by placing a live snake in his paint box.
  • We hear reference made to Vincent’s death destroying his brother, and we see Theo distraught as he cries over his brother’s death.
  • There are images of Vincent laid out in a coffin at his funeral.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may be disturbed by some of the themes and scenes in this film.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • reference to a man having died from syphilis
  • reference to Vincent presenting a his severed ear to a “whore”.
  • A woman makes suggestive remarks that Vincent was seeing a woman, but that the woman was out of  his league

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Sexily dressed prostitutes flirt with men in a brothel
  • A fully clothed man and woman engage in sexual intercourse with the woman reclining on a wine barrel while the man stands between her legs

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Wine, beer and spirits are consumed socially in a number of scenes.
  • In a couple of scenes men drinking alcohol become intoxicated, staggering and slurring their words, and becoming aggressive. In one scene several intoxicated men engage in a fist-fight, resulting in one man ending up in jail.
  • Men and women smoke cigarettes throughout the film, and men are also depicted smoking pipes. 

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • dick; bloody gypsy; some bastard; crazy old man; nut case; nancy boy; idiot. 

In a nutshell

Loving Vincent is an animated drama targeting older adolescents and adults, particularly lovers of van Gogh’s art who will enjoy the unique animation. The film was entirely hand painted in oils by over one hundred artists, involving over 60 thousand individual frames painted over a seven year period.

Due to the disturbing themes and images, the film is not recommended for children under 13. Parental guidance is recommended for the 13 to 15 year old age group and there is much to discuss with this age group.

The main messages from this movie is that talented artists can be troubled by psychological problems that lead to them being excluded, misunderstood and undervalued by those around them.

Parents may wish to discuss why people shunned Vincent and discriminated against him. Where they scared of him because he was different? Was it his psychological disorder that they didn’t understand and were afraid of, or were they simply ignorant of his genius? 

 

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