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At Eternity's Gate

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Switzerland, Ireland, United Kingdom · 2018
Rated PG-13 · 1h 51m
Director Julian Schnabel
Starring Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen
Genre Drama

Famous but tormented, Vincent van Gogh spends his final years in Arles, France, painting the world around him. This biographical drama tells the story of van Gogh, from his artistic genius to his relationship with his brother and his bond with fellow artist Paul Gauguin.

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What are people saying?

Hannah Benson Profile picture for Hannah Benson

Willem Dafoe's performance is incredible. The scenery of Southern France in this film feels very impressionistic like van Gogh's work. Oscar Isaac is great as Gauguin. The way the film stylistically represents van Gogh's struggle with mental health adds to Dafoe's performance. I enjoyed the mix of English and French since so many English films about French history never address the fact every actor is speaking with a British accent.

Teddy Pierce Profile picture for Teddy Pierce

I'm surprised to see such mixed critic reviews. The visuals and the soundtrack of this film alone make it worth watching, even if it didn't have a compelling story (which it very much does). The film puts the viewer inside the head of Van Gogh to see the world in all its swirling beauty and terror.

What are critics saying?


The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

This is in many ways an abrasive, wildly uneven film — raw and deliberately unvarnished in style, shot by Benoit Delhomme with a nervous handheld camera and lots of wide-angle lenses that mirror the darting restlessness and the uneasy perspective of a troubled mind.


Slant Magazine by Greg Cwik

This is both a fitting tribute to an artist who rebuffed conventional painting techniques, and a disappointingly self-indulgent exercise, the efforts of a filmmaker whose affinity for abstractions often interfere with the story he’s trying to tell, and distract from the purported subject of the film.


Screen International by Jonathan Romney

Despite a strong, affecting performance by Willem Dafoe – who, even more than Kirk Douglas or Pialat’s star Jacques Dutronc, looks born to the part – the director’s pugnacious visual and editing style never impart the kinetic emotional charge of his 2007 drama The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.


The Film Stage by Leonardo Goi

At Eternity’s Gate is a film made by an artist (“plates painter” Schnabel) less concerned with a painter, more with the way a painter saw the world. In its rupture from traditional biographical narratives, it does not merely stand out as unconventional biopic–it also comes close to resuscitating the idea of cinema as moving pictures.


IndieWire by Michael Nordine

Schnabel fuses form and content in a way that’s rarely attempted and even more rarely achieved; in risking the same derision with which Van Gogh was sometimes met, he transcends the limitations of the conventional biopic and creates something that feels genuinely new.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

Does At Eternity’s Gate have anything new or innovative to share about perhaps the most comprehensively documented painter who’s ever lived? Does the world need another van Gogh biopic? Not really.


Variety by Owen Gleiberman

Schnabel, the director of “Before Night Falls” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” has stripped down his filmmaking in the most seductive way, all to achieve something audacious and elemental. He’s out to imagine what Vincent van Gogh was really like — to bask in van Gogh’s presence with an experiential, present-tense immediacy.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Julian Schnabel has made a heartfelt if straightforwardly reverent film about the last years in the life of Vincent van Gogh – acted by with all the integrity and unselfconscious ease that you would expect from this great actor.


Time by Stephanie Zacharek

Schnabel’s dream portrait of van Gogh is made whole by its star, Willem Dafoe, whose radiant intensity fills every corner of the film.


TheWrap by William Bibbiani

Schnabel creates a natural, immersive motion picture that conveys the experience of being, living with, and painting like Vincent Van Gogh.

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