At Eternity's Gate is a biographical drama film directed by Julian Schnabel and was written by Schnabel, Louise Kugelberg and Jean-Claude Carrière. It stars Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Niels Arestrup.

The Story/The Direction:

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 The film is about the final years of the painter Vincent van Gogh's life and to go much more into that would be spoiler territory. The story is fairly simple but readers, please understand that the film overall is much more than that. This piece of work of Schnabel is a love letter to van Gogh from one painter to another. This film looks into how van Gogh's work was underappreciated when he first painted them. In fact, he was thought to be crazy. This piece of work of Schnabel is a love letter to van Gogh from one painter to another.  

Julian Schnabel and Willem Dafoe on the set of AT ETERNITY’S GATE_CREDIT Lily Gavin

He shows that in the cinematography by giving long stots with dialogue. He shot the film with a hand-held camera which allows the viewers to get into van Gogh's head, which is the centerpiece of the film. He takes van Gogh's paintings and makes his film seem like one of them. He does this from the high contrast colors to the costumes and the images. He even takes quotes from van Gogh and makes scenes from them to really emphasize who this man is. The music is part of who he is as it plays nice soft piano pieces when he is painting but goes silent when he is interrupted. It's absolutely lovely to look at and get inside what made this man who he is. 

The Characters:

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Dafoe has had a career of great roles but this is perhaps his best. In spite of being 30 years older than his character, he not only looks the part but he is van Gogh. The age does not matter because the image that the director uses is from a lot of van Gogh's paintings which do make him look older than he was. This helps the film's overall painting feeling and Dafoe plays this role brilliantly. Each moment shows the eternal battle that van Gogh is going through trying to make art. His friend, Paul Gauguin (Isaac) is pushing him to paint more portraits and paint slowly but he wants to paint nature and fast. Each moment, he thinks, goes by so quickly and we should take the time to appreciate it but each moment is different so we must capture the moment quickly. This is really against what Impressionist painters think but yet his paintings were similar to Impressionist paintings. Each moment that Dafoe is onscreen is a marvel to look at even if he is not saying a word. 

The Flaws:

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The only flaw is that there is not an explanation of why French is spoken at sometimes but not others. Locals in one scene speak French to our main characters but then in the following speak English with an accent. This is definitely a nitpick and probably will not bother most.

Overall:

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This film is a piece of art from the acting to the costumes and the direction. It was a beautiful film to see even though it may not for everyone. This film does not have a lot occur in it which may bother some but the film is an occurrence as a whole. The message of "do what you think is right for you even when the world thinks negative of you" is such an excellent message to tell plus all of the other positive aspects make this film only a tad short of perfect but after future viewings may make it perfect. This film is absolutely brilliant film to look at and it was a lovely experience at the theatre. 

Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties

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Trailer