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The True Story Behind the Vincent van Gogh Biopic At Eternity's Gate

At Eternity’s Gate tells the story of Vincent van Gogh’s final years in the south of France leading up to his death. While based on known details of the artist’s biography, director Julian Schnabel filled in the details to draw an even richer portrait of the artist’s life. As TIME movie critic Stephanie Zacharek puts it: “Schnabel riffs on what we know and speculates about much we don’t, imagining what it was like to see through Van Gogh’s eyes and to live in his skin.” 

The film is more “impressionist portrait,” as star Willem Dafoe described it, than straight-up biopic. Here’s what’s true and what’s fiction in At Eternity’s Gate.

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