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Vincent (1981)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography  -  1981 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 31 users  
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A one-man filmed play of Leonard Nimoy's adaptation of "Van Gogh" (1979) by Phillip Stephens.

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Title: Vincent (TV Movie 1981)

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A one-man filmed play of Leonard Nimoy's adaptation of "Van Gogh" (1979) by Phillip Stephens.

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1981 (USA)  »

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Very heart-felt.
8 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a one-man play starring Leonard Nimoy. It was apparently shown on television back in 1981, though I saw it on DVD. It begins with a prologue where Nimoy explains his reasons for the play and ends with an epilogue as well. In between, Nimoy plays Theo Van Gogh--Vincent's brother. So, the title is a bit misleading.

The setting is a week after Vincent's funeral. In real life, Theo was so broken up by Vincent's early death that he couldn't speak at the funeral. This fictionalized story is Theo talking to all of his friends about his brother once he was able to do so. What follows is an amazingly good one-man show where Nimoy bounces back and forth--playing Theo as well as Theo talking for his brother. It's full of Vincent's short-comings, quirk and hangups--but also talks of his greatness and what a great loss it is to the world that he took his own life.

I chose to watch this film mostly because I love learning about Van Gogh. When I taught psychology, we did a couple classes on the man--learning about his greatness but mostly discussing his tortured mental state. However, the play was not completely correct when it came to discussing Van Gogh's mental health. Van Gogh sliced off PART of an ear because he was slicing his throat to commit suicide. He NEVER gave it to a prostitute--this is a myth. In fact, the local police collected it as evidence when he was taken to the hospital. Also, although epilepsy or some sort of brain tumor or lesion MIGHT have contributed to Van Gogh's problems, the most likely diagnoses would include Bipolar Disorder and alcohol/drug abuse (perhaps in an effort to self-treat the mood swings). If you read up on Bipolar Disorder, it fits Van Gogh perfectly--with his debilitating periods of severe depression and wild periods of intense energy where he'd paint for days on end. Porphyria and other diseases have also been suggested--but it would seem Bipolar is the best fit--especially since it is unfortunately relatively common. I can't blame the play for this, as Bipolar Disorder (then called 'Manic-Depression') was not as well-known or diagnosed.


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