The familiar tragic story of Vincent van Gogh is broadened by focusing as well on his brother Theodore, who helped support Vincent. The movie also provides a nice view of the locations which Vincent painted.
Dave Hirsch, a writer and an army veteran winds up in his small Indiana hometown, to the dismay of his respectable older brother. He meets and befriends various different characters and tries to figure out what to do with his life.
Vincent Van Gogh is the archetypical tortured artistic genius. His obsession with painting, combined with mental illness, propels him through an unhappy life full of failures and unrewarding relationships. He fails at being a preacher to coal miners. He fails in his relationships with women. He earns some respect among his fellow painters, especially Paul Gauguin, but he does not get along with them. He only manages to sell one painting in his lifetime. The one constant good in his life is his brother Theo, who is unwavering in his moral and financial support.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MGM originally bought " Lust for Life " as a vehicle for Spencer Tracy. See more »
Camera shadow falls across Ducrucq as Van Gogh finds him dead. See more »
Commissioner De Smet:
You are now qualified for evangelical work, under the auspices of The Belgian Committee of the Messengers of the Faith. May the lord guide you, and sustain you in all your ways.
[gets up from the table and dismisses the five aspiring clergymen from the room, then looks unenthused at Vincent Van Gogh waiting in the hallway before closing the door and sitting back down]
Congratulations Dr. Gachet, a very creditable group of young men.
Commissioner De Smet:
Now about this other young man Dr. Gachet. Are you...
[...] See more »
Lust For Life may look, at first glance, to be a typical Hollywood biopic, which is usually not much more than a star vehicle about a famous, real-life but vacuously recreated character, denuded of any real personality. Minelli certainly makes his biopic of Vincent Van Gogh with his trademark lavishness. But, importantly, he does not glamorise his subject. Instead, he makes a visually rich but earthy film, which exalts Van Gogh's achievement and seeks to portray the realities of his creative life and the dark side of his personality.
Lust For Life focuses on the extremely troubled man Van Gogh was, at turns listless, priggish, childish, needy, manic and quick-tempered; but also sensitive, caring, thoughtful, romantic and altruistic. Kirk Douglas is superb as Van Gogh, holistically exhibiting his various and contradictory aspects: obsessive though circumspect artist, diffident but passionate friend, forlorn romantic and dangerous maniac. It is all the more of an accomplishment as he is such a muscular, good-looking leading actor (nor should Anthony Quinn's key supporting performance as Gauguin, a macho with hidden sensibilities, be neglected).
However, at the same time, what the film never forgets is Van Gogh's considerable achievement. Minelli's iridescence complements Van Gogh's colourful, vivacious visual style, and many of his paintings are shown throughout the film.
Critics have pointed to the over-use of melodrama in the film. Yet Lust For Life is rare in that the film is consummated by its melodrama, along with Miklós Rózsa's grand, sweeping music. In other words, its melodrama succeeds, making the viewer identify more with Douglas' Van Gogh, giving him a greater, but also justified, pathos and sense of tragedy.
Lust For Life is the best Hollywood Biopic
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this