The Art of Us (2017) Script



Vincent, slow down.

Wait, just... hang on.

I am so sorry!

It's okay.

-Hey, fella. How are you? -Vincent!

He just gets so excited whenever he's outdoors.

-I'm... -That's okay.

Terribly sorry.

Does that apology come with a name?

Dr. Harper Higgins.

Tom Becker.

What kind of doctor are you?

Not medical.

A Ph.D.

I'm a professor of art history.




Anyway, uh, thanks for being so nice about this.

Of course.


Hey, buddy.


Well, see ya, Doc.


Oh, come on, Vincent.

Try to pretend that I'm in charge.

[car alarm chirps]

Cezanne inspired the Cubist movement, and later, Modernism.

Note the angular planes.


How much of this is on the test?

All of the abstract art we covered.

That's it for today. I'll see you on Wednesday.

This is quite an achievement.

Booking such a high-profile artist for the art show.

Thank you, Dr. Martin.

How did you ever manage to get Armand?

Well, it took a lot of coaxing and praise, but he finally came around.

Well, this will certainly enhance our reputation.

The board is very impressed, and I think I can safely say that this will earn you a permanent position on the Fine Arts faculty.

That is so wonderful!


I hope I'm not interrupting.

Not at all, Dr. Browning.

Armand's work is so arresting.

I just wanted to congratulate you.

I'm sure the show will be an enormous success, and if I can be of any assistance, just... please call me.

Thank you, Dr. Browning.

Well, if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting with the board.

Isn't it exciting about Armand?


Well done, Dr. Higgins.

All tweed and no substance.

He's just trying to save face.

He wanted the job, and his much younger colleague beat him to the punch.

Well, I'm so tired of working two jobs.

I have to teach at the Arts Collective just to make ends meet.

Wow, that doesn't leave a lot of time for painting.

Your last show was, what, over a year ago?

My last and final. Never again.

But you are so good.

Not good enough.

I go into my studio, and I just stand there, empty.

Now I can appreciate art, you know, teach what I know to the students.

Teaching is a much better fit.

If it's such a better fit, then why do you look so uncertain?


If I pull this off, I can become a full-time professor, have some stability and steady income.

Are you sure it's just about the paycheck?

It's about redefining myself.

Painting is my past. I'm moving on.


Oh! What is it, sweetie?

Oh, hi, honey.

Oh, you want a walk?

Let's do it.



What are you doing?

Sorry, Vincent.

I'm not painting anymore.

[Vincent whines]

[Vincent barks]

You're very opinionated.

We got free refills as well.

Hey, Tom!

Hey, Frank!

Every time I see you, you got a paintbrush in your hand.


Mind if I take a closer look?

Yeah, yeah, okay.


Hey, listen, can I get you a beer or something?

Oh, yeah, sure, that'd be great.

Where'd you learn how to paint like that?

I took art therapy at the V.A. hospital.

Just can't seem to quit.

I'm no expert, but.. boy, sure looks good to me.

[Tom]: Well, thanks a lot, Frank, but... you know, it's just a hobby, something that helps me unwind while I try and adjust to civilian life.


All of us go through that.

It took me a long time to figure out who I was out of uniform.

[electric buzzing, humming]

Oh... that isn't good.


Could be.

Let me go upstairs and check it out.

You know, I've only had this thing six months, and it's been nothing but trouble.

I fix one thing, the next thing goes wrong.

When you get an old houseboat, you get what you pay for.

Hey, Marshall.

Do you know anything about the dog-walker who posted the ad?

He walks my dog, Sandy, and my neighbor's poodle.

Great guy, great price... what's not to like?


'cause I'm working two jobs, and I have no time, so I could use all the help I can get.

-He's your man. -Thanks.

You got all that water damage.

Look, you're going to have to change that box out for a hundred-amp box, so...


Don't freak out just yet.

-All right, thanks, Frank. -Yeah.

O h, hi. This is Dr. Harper Higgins.

I'm having my morning coffee at Gratia, and I saw your ad.

I need a dog-walker, and I was wondering, maybe we could meet up today or tomorrow?


[phone text chimes]

[phone text chimes]

This should be good.


Hello again.

Oh... hi!

How's Vincent?

Impossible. Adorable.


Do you mind if I sit down?

Actually, I'm meeting someone.

Oh, actually, I am, too.

A dog-walker for Vincent.

You know... a good dog-walker's hard to find in this town.

Yeah, well, I'm not even sure he's showing up.

We've never even met before.

Oh, no, you have, actually, one rainy afternoon, not far from here.

You're the dog-walker?



Looks like Vincent brought us together again.

You know, for a guy that short, he's awfully controlling.

His behavior is not all my fault.

He followed me home.

I couldn't bear to take him to the shelter, so, suddenly, I had a dog.

Not sure if he picked me, or I picked him.

Maybe a bit of both.

So, uh... how does one become a dog-walker?

Well, I did a stint at the V.A. hospital.

Um, I used to walk the dogs there, and it was... best part of my day.

You think you can handle Vincent?

You know, I think I'm up to the task.

All right, well, uh...

I have to get to a meeting, so, uh, send me your rates and references.

I think this might work out.

Sounds good, Doc.

-All right. -Harper?


It's good to see you. Time for a cup of coffee?

Uh, actually, I'm running late.

I was hoping we could talk.

Sorry, Rick, I really have to go.


You won't believe who I just ran into.


He wants to talk.


As an art critic or as your ex?

Does it matter?

How do you give your girlfriend a bad review?

This should go over here.

"Not enough emotion."

Just what you want your boyfriend to say about you in print.

Oh, hey, uh, that needs to go in the back.

There's something we need to discuss, and it's not good.

What is it?

Are you okay?

Define "okay."

"Okay" is when you don't have to ask what it means.

That self-serving, double-crossing Armand was offered a more prestigious show in Paris, so he's bailing on yours.

No, no, no, he can't do that!

The show is in three weeks!

He can, and he did.

What am I going to tell Dr. Martin and the board?

I don't know, but hey, maybe it made you forget about Rick for a minute.

Now is not the time for humor.

No, now is the time for the department meeting.

It starts in 10 minutes.

How could this day get any worse?

[Dr. Martin]: Funding is paramount in maintaining our standards, and funding requires we have a high-profile.

Dr. Higgins' highly-anticipated show featuring Armand will assist in that goal.

Unfortunately, Dr. Martin, there's a conflict with Armand's dates.

Are you saying we no longer have Armand?

I'm afraid not.

Perhaps you would allow me to curate the show.

I have a wonderful artist I could enlist.

That won't be necessary.

I have a back-up plan that's even better.

I'm sure that you will be very pleased.

[Dr. Martin]: Well, uh...

Uh, your 3:30 has just arrived.

Be in my office first thing tomorrow morning and tell me what you have in mind.

I look forward to it. Thank you, Dr. Martin.

Okay, what are you going to do?

Try and find another artist.

Yes, but who? Where?


I'm teaching at the Arts Collective tonight.

I can't cancel.

I have a bunch of students waiting to paint something.

Okay, okay, you want me to call some galleries?

That would be great, and I'll reach out to all my contacts.

We got this.



The peonies are on sale.

Happiest flower on earth.

Wow, they're beautiful.

See what I mean?


Wow, the colors are so vibrant and bold.

You know what?

I'll take a dozen.

You have such a lucky girlfriend, buying her flowers all the time.

My husband is the same.

He writes me these songs.

He's a musician.

Some people think love songs are corny, but... I'm a newlywed and a lost cause.

I don't think love songs are corny at all.

In that case, I'll throw in a few extra peonies.

Oh, thank you.

Lindsay, hi, it's me.

Um... every artist I can think of is either not good enough, or already booked.

Yeah, I know, I...

I have to go teach class now, but, um... come on... yeah, give me a call if you have any luck.


Let's go.

This way!

Come on! This way.

Notice how Turner conveyed a mood with his choice of colors.

What color? Seems so drab.


Could we maybe add some pink or something to brighten it up?

I... I think you're missing the point.

I won't tell Turner if you don't.


Maybe you could do an original for the students to copy?

You know I'm not painting anymore.

[Students]: Aw!

Something impromptu, reasonably cheerful?

Peyton is the boss.

Her school, her rules.

[students chuckling]

[Student]: Hey, let's paint the cheese and wine before it's all gone.


-Ah, look! He agrees! -[Harper]: Vincent!


Okay, okay. Cheerful it is.



Hey. Hi, buddy.

So you're a painter.


Not anymore, no. I am...

I am a professor that moonlights as an art instructor, not the other way around.

Anyway, Vincent's so ready for his walk, so you two go have fun.

Okay. See you later.


Say bye.

Who's he?

Oh, that's my dog-walker.

Maybe I should get a dog.

Hey, who's walking who here, pal?

Where are you in a hurry to get to?


Didn't think this would be such a workout.

All right, all right.

Come here.

Come over here.

Let's see if you got any hidden talents, all right?

Vincent... sit.

All right, uh... lie down?

Uh, roll over?


I suppose "heel" means nothing to you?

Yeah, I thought so.


Okay, that's fine.

You know what? Don't worry about it.

It's a process.

We'll get you sitting in no time.

Come on, Vincent.

That's great.

You're going to want to start blocking your colors and get it all set.

Good job.

[Harper]: How are you doing?

It looks great, but you want to pop out the background, right?

So put a highlight there, okay?

And don't forget, bring your eye over toward this direction.

This looks great.

Getting heavy-handed over there.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

All right.

[Student]: Is the color contrast okay?

I like what you did over here, but maybe if you just do a little highlight in this area?

-Okay. -Okay?

[Harper]: Look at where the light hits it, right?

That's what you want.

[Student]: Great.

Okay, guys, let's wrap this up.

[Harper]: Don't forget to wash all your brushes and leave them in the sink.

I think I'm going to frame this one.

I think we got ourselves a ringer!

Whoa, who did this?

The dog-walker.

If you ask me, I think he's in the wrong line of work.

Where did he go?

He just left.



Why didn't you tell me?

Tell you what?

That you could paint like that!

What's your background?

Do you have any training?

Just art therapy 101 at the V.A. hospital.

My teacher was a Marine, and I figured if he could do it, why not me?

Well, I don't mean to be over-the-top, but you are really gifted.

It's way over-the-top, but thanks.

Well, I'd love to see more of your work.

It's just something I do for me.

It keeps me centered, you know?





Come on, Vincent!

You live here?


Wow, you really are full of surprises.

You know...

I bought it on an impulse.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I keep having to fix it.

[Frank]: Hey, Tom!

Hey, Frankie!

Come on over here.

Frank, this is my friend, Harper.

Hey, nice to meet you, Harper.

Nice to meet you.

Hey, and who's this guy?

Ah, that's Vincent.

Vincent? Hey!

Cute dog.

Thank you.

So... has he shown you his artwork yet?


We're headed over.

Oh, you've got to see his artwork.

Frank, would you give me a break?

No, he's a great painter! He really is.

I can't wait.

Your use of color is just amazing.

These landscapes? Wow.

You know, I've been really into painting flowers lately.

Trusting my instincts.

Your work reminds me of van Gogh, my all-time favorite artist... hence Vincent's name.

Oh, right.

You know, my grandmother was Dutch.

She loved van Gogh.

She even thought we might be related.

Really? How so?

Well, her family was from Zundert, in the Netherlands...

And that's where van Gogh was from.

[Tom]: Right, exactly.

So according to our family lore, my great-great-grandmother actually knew van Gogh and even hinted at a romance in one of her letters.


So maybe you are related.

That might explain the talent.

Oh, I don't know.

I just paint it how I see it.

I'm curating a show for the college, and we just lost our artist.

I know this sounds crazy, and it's really last-minute, but would you consider doing the show?


I'm flattered, but, you know, when I paint, I just do it for me, and...


Is that for dramatic effect?

No, it's the wiring.

My electricity's on borrowed time.

Did I mention that the paintings would be for sale?

I mean, the college gets a cut, but you get to keep most of the money.

Could probably use the cash.

I can't predict how many will sell, but... enough to keep the lights on.

I'll have to think about it.

Just let me know by tomorrow morning?

Hi, Marshall.

Uh, was Tom Becker in here this morning?

I don't think so.

Okay, well, if he comes in, could you give him this note and a coffee?

That's it?

He'll understand.

[phone chimes]

Good morning, Dr. Higgins.

It's a shame we lost Armand, but some people think he's overrated.

We are here to discuss your alternative choice.

Yes, we are, and we will...

He is a remarkable talent.

[text chimes]

Oh, that might be him.

His name is Tom Becker.

I've never heard of him.

No, but you will, and the college will get all the credit for discovering him.

Dr. Browning has an acclaimed artist who will fit the bill.

I can't take a gamble on an unknown.

But "an unknown" doesn't do him justice...

His work has such maturity.

His knowledge of art is encyclopedic.

He won't garner the same interest as a well-established name.

A name... right.

Well, I think you should know...

Tom is the great-great-grandson of Vincent van Gogh.

Well, why didn't you tell me this?

I just did... but what really matters is his work.

Wait until the board hears about this.

[Tom]: You know, when somebody hires me to walk their dog, they usually don't come along.

I know, I just needed to talk to you right away.

It's about the art show.

Oh, yeah, I'm sorry I didn't text you about that sooner.

I had another issue with my boat.

There's just one little hitch... well, not hitch exactly.

Some embellishing that got out of hand.

I said you were van Gogh's great-great-grandson.


I know...

Why would you do that?

Dr. Martin is the head of the Department, and he wanted someone with a high profile, and I just thought...

Look, it doesn't matter.

You are so talented, you deserve to have your own show, and for all we know, you could be related to van Gogh.

This is not what I signed on for.

Look, I'm out. I...

Artists pad their resumes all the time just to get their work seen.

I'm not trying to get my work seen.

I'm trying to get my boat fixed.

Why is this so important to you?

I'm just an adjunct professor.

If this show goes well, then I'll get a promotion.

Well, the money would be nice, but this van Gogh thing is nuts.

But once people see your work, they won't care about your ancestry.

And that's supposed to make it okay?

Harper... you've put me between a rock and a sinking boat.

I'm sorry.

[Vincent barks]


Maybe it's a sign.

Or it's a warning.

How fortunate that you found him just in the nick of time.

Wait until you see his work.

One can't help but think of van Gogh.

Is that so?

Well, if you'll excuse me, I just have a class to get to.

You want to tell me what's going on?

I didn't want to say anything in case it didn't work out.

Okay, but you'd rather me die of curiosity?

I found an exceptional artist.

Is he really related to van Gogh?

Maybe. Possibly.

He's my dog-walker, and a very talented artist.

His work is so good, an incredible eye.

He paints in a very similar style.

Who are you trying to convince?

You, Lars, Dr. Martin...

Tom Becker, the artist in question, who has doubts of his very own.

Oh, what have I done?

How can I help?

What are you doing later today?

There's a lot of curiosity at the college.

You may get some questions about van Gogh, so I thought it'd be a good idea to explore some of his work.


You really think we can pull this off?

You're the one with the broken boat, so I suggest we try.

Let's start with his background. van Gogh didn't commit to painting until his late 20s.

Oh, he got a late start, kind of like me.

That's right.

His first major work was "The Potato Eaters," but he hadn't quite developed his technique that made him famous.

Question... does he really need all those details?

I told Dr. Martin that his knowledge of art was encyclopedic.

Ah... it's going to be a long night.

Wait! Where are you going?

I have a date, but I will make sure that you get your reproductions tomorrow.

But we have so much to cover!

Oh, I think you can handle it.

You guys have fun, now.

van Gogh's technique was called "impasto".

You nervous to be alone with me, Doc?

What? Of course not.

He spent a lot of time in Arles.

Oh, yeah, that's where he painted these sunflowers, right?

All these masterpieces, and he was barely recognized in his day.

Yeah, you know, I feel for the guy.

He's family, you know?

So do I.

[Harper]: There's so much to cover, and we barely made a dent last night.

Well, at least he showed up and he tried... and you know, I think he has a little crush.

What makes you say that?

Oh, the way he looks at you when you're trying not to look at him.

Yeah, well, I don't want to encourage it.

Hey, Marshall, just the usual.

And could I have a caramel macchiato, please.

[Marshall]: You got it.

I got this.

Oh, thank you.

You know, he seems like a good guy.

But I am not mixing work and my love life again.

That's what happened with me and Rick and the dreaded review.

He called me.


I haven't called him back.

I just don't want to discuss the past.

I'm afraid he'll start talking about my work, and I just can't go there right now.

Why don't you just hear him out?

I'm not even painting anymore, so what does it matter?

Hey, would you maybe help me tutor Tom at the Arts Collective tonight?

Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

Third wheels only belong on tricycles.

Stop being so pithy and just say yes.

You and Tom are on your own.

I think you can handle it.

Cheers, and thank you.

Okay, tell me what you know about van Gogh's brother, Theo?

Well, he was an art dealer in Paris.

He was named after their father, who was not a fan of art.

It's kind of like me and my old man.

Art was not on his radar.

What did he do?

He was in the military.

And your mom?

She passed away when I was a kid.

I'm sorry.

It's okay.

My dad was no fan of art either.

He's an engineer, so everything's cut and dry... and when my parents split, I used to send him paintings, and then I outgrew it.

My mom wasn't the only thing he left behind.

You know...

I wonder if that's why we paint... to express ourselves the way we couldn't way back when.

Art Therapy 101?

[chuckles] Yeah.

That Marine was a good teacher.

Yeah, he was.

Okay, back to work.

This is an excellent example of the three-dimensional technique.

The use of color, the intensity...

You can see what he was feeling.


This is your private student?

No, uh... I mean, yes... not exactly...

Yeah, um...

You know what? Um...

I'm going to take Vincent for a walk.

I'll leave you two a chance to talk about me.

See you soon.


He's an artist.

I'm using him for the show that I'm curating for the college.

I am so embarrassed.

I think you may be overreacting.

It's just a kiss.

No, but I just don't want to confuse my personal and professional lives.

It's just too much.

The heart cannot be contained.

Isn't that what art's all about?

That can never happen again.

What, no tutoring?

You know what I mean.

I hope not.

There'll be no more kissing, okay?

We're already in over our heads with the whole art show and our link to van Gogh.

We don't need to complicate our situation any further.


I'm serious.

What? No more kissing. I got it.

Why does this promotion mean so much to you?

Call me crazy, but I'd like a steady salary.

I've sworn off painting, as you might have gleaned.

I'm trying to change direction, throw myself into teaching.

But you can teach at the Arts Collective.

The students don't care about art or its history.

They want to paint cupcakes and have some fun.

What's wrong with that?

All right, what's the real purpose of art, Doc?

Is it remembering the past, or is it celebrating the beauty of the present?

Here I am.

Why aren't you using a real artist for your show?

You are a real artist.

I don't know about that.

You couldn't paint like that if you weren't.

Let's go, Vincent.

You know, blue is definitely your color.

I didn't know I had one.

Hey, guys!

-Hey, just the usual. -Sure.

-Same. -You got it.

My colleagues are all very curious about you.

Suddenly, I'm avoiding the teachers' lounge.

Maybe there's a way we can reverse this.

Let's not forget, you could be related to van Gogh.

-There you go. -Thanks.

That thread is feeling looser every day.

Let's try to figure out the gaps in your lineage.

Gaps in my lineage?

Okay, I guess we start with my grandmother.

What was her name?


So her father would be your great-grandfather, and, theoretically, van Gogh's son?

Yeah, I guess that's right.

Do you know anything about him?

He was a tailor and an immigrant.

So he came here from the Netherlands, got to Ellis Island...

He didn't speak much English, so the immigration officer gave him a different name.

That's all I know.


Oh, we didn't order those.

It's on the house.

My barista and I have a bet going.

What's with you two?

Oh, well, Tom is my dog-walker, based on your recommendation, so thank you.

I see plenty of couples in this place, but you I don't get.

Oh, no, no, no. We're not a couple.

I'm helping Harper with an art project.

And I had this whole story in my head that you saw the ad, he walked your dog, and you fell in love.

We're just friends.


Keep the scones.

Maybe you'll fall in love later.


Oh, I have something really special to show you.

Wow. These are amazing.

I have such a hard time finding multi-colored tulips.

Well, I am feeling very Dutch these days, so I will take a dozen.

Your girlfriend is going to love these.

Uh, actually, they're for me.

I paint all the flowers I buy from you.

Why didn't you tell me that before?

Oh, it's just kind of a private thing.

"Real art is having the courage to share it."

That's what my husband says about music.

He used to be too shy to play in public, and now they can't get him off the stage.

Why, what happened?

He met me.

I told him he was really good.

A little faith goes a long way.

-Thank you. -You're welcome.

I would love to see one of your paintings some time.

I'll make sure you get to see this one.


So, how are things going?

Don't even ask.

There's so much to do before the show.

Have to prep the gallery, set the frames, catalog...

And how are things going with Tom?

Well, the paintings are extraordinary.

That's the one bright spot.

I mean on a personal note.

We have our moments... and I need to leave it at that.

Well, sounds to me like maybe somebody's a little afraid of getting hurt.

That pretty much describes everyone I've ever met.

Especially me.

[Rick]: Hello?


I was in the neighborhood.

I thought I'd drop by.

Actually, it was deliberate.

You free for lunch?

I have a meeting that I'm late for.

Rick, it was very nice seeing you again.

Excuse me.

Sorry, you caught me off-guard.

I called you a couple times.

Yeah, I've been really busy.

You avoiding me?

No! Not exactly.

Sort of, actually.

I was hoping we could talk about your work.

You know what? It's okay, Rick.

I'm not even painting anymore.

You should be.

Not according to your review.

I think you should let me explain.

I have class to get to.

All right, well, if you ever change your mind, just let me know.


[phone rings]

Hi, this is Rick.

Leave me a message and I'll call you back.

Hi, it's me.

Maybe we should talk.

Yeah, I think I'll have the chicken salad... the grilled salmon...


I meant no harm when I wrote that review.

I was trying to help you fulfill your potential.

Did you have to do it in print?

It was my first show.

Obviously, I had a lot to learn.

I think you could be good, really good... but you tend to be too guarded.

As an artist, or in life?

Both, I suppose.

Well, you weren't alone in your opinion.

All the critics said my work was too technical.

I never intended for you to stop painting.

I'm all about teaching now, so it's a moot point.

I'm currently trying to impress the board by curating a show for the college.

I heard about that.

Heard... what?

I have some concern about the artist and his dubious connection to van Gogh.

Well, what matters most is his talent.

I just hope you aren't being duped.

I thought we were here to talk about my work, or lack thereof.

We are.

I don't see you in your work... your feeling, your perspective.

Without that, it's just putting paint on canvas.

If it doesn't move you, it's not going to move the viewer.


I'm not sure I can risk that.

I tried and I failed.

You only fail if you give up.

I only get hurt if I try.

Every artist that you admire felt it was worth the risk.

ones should we use for the invitation?

The peonies.

He painted those the day we met.

Those flowers are flying.

Okay, we have two weeks until the show.

The invitations need to go out right away.

I'll start compiling a guest list.

Oh, and I want to invite Victoria Bainbridge.

Oh, the art dealer!

She could really put Tom on the map.

Maybe the peonies will pique her interest.

Mm-hmm, along with the artist's ancestry.

Send an invitation to her gallery on Newbury Street.

You got it.


Harper. Have the invitations gone out?

Oh, not yet.

Send the Dean's wife her own invitation, and send one to the docent at the museum, okay?

-Great. -Thanks.

Ooh, what a tangled web we weave.

It gets more tangled all the time.

Oh, and it's Sammy taking an early lead!

Oh, Bruiser's cruising up the left side.

Burger wants to win, but it's Sammy, Sammy, making a run for the finish line!




All right, everybody.

Let's see if we can't teach Vincent by example.

Okay. Who's got the first trick?

Sammy, over there.


That's my girl.



Bruiser, big Bruiser... what can we do?

Uh, let's make you speak. Are you watching?





Yeah! Good boy, good boy.

See that?

That's how it's done.

Okay, you, right here, Prince, we're going to make you do your favorite thing.

Lie down.

Ha! You see that? Like clockwork. Okay.



I don't know what to do with this guy.






Maybe next week, huh? What do you think?

Should we keep him around?

Yeah, there's one in every class.



Oh, not again...

You know, the whole boat needs to be rewired.

You've got no heat, no electricity, and that leak in the roof is getting much worse.

I don't know, I think you're looking at, like...

$10,000, maybe $12,000.

Oh, boy, that's a lot more walking dogs.

I'll do most of the work myself and try and keep the cost down.

Thanks, Frank.

What about your paintings?

Well, I've got a show coming up, but there's no guarantee that anything's going to sell.

Well, I'd be surprised if they didn't.

Look, don't worry about it.

I'll get started on the repairs, and then we'll see what happens.

Well, I appreciate that, Frank.

It's just so much pressure on me to perform already.

No, no, man, no pressure.

Well, listen... painting was just a kind of therapy for me.

It's so much more now, I mean... but it's just so impractical.

I mean, who knows if I'll ever even earn a dime, you know?

Yeah, well, I've lived long enough to know that how you spend your days matters more than how much it pays.

You're a wise man, Frank.

Yeah, so I've been told. So I've been told.

Dr. Higgins, I'm glad I caught you.

I'm having a cocktail party next Friday, and, well, I wanted to invite you.

Oh, thank you, Dr. Browning.

You must bring Tom Becker.

A colleague of mine with a vast knowledge of van Gogh is dying to meet him, and I know they'll have a lot to discuss.

Also, it builds great buzz in the art world.

It sounds like a wonderful evening.

Great. See you then.


Every day I get thrown another curve.

Now it's this party.


Oh, great! I need to talk to you.

My boat is falling apart...

Lars is throwing a cocktail party.

I need to spend all my time walking dogs to make more money...

He invited an expert on van Gogh...

I'm supposed to have a show, and I have no electricity.

I may have a solution.

Harper has a studio she's not using.

You could stay there until your boat is fixed.

I could finish my paintings.

That might work.

Yeah, and you could prep him for the party and this van Gogh expert.

It's something to think about.

Yeah, it is.

Okay, you've got to think fast.

You don't have a lot of time.


[phone rings]

Hi, Lindsay.


So, did Tom take you up on your offer?

Actually, it was your offer, remember?

Why did you do that?

I don't understand the problem.


The problem is, things are already so complicated.

It would just be weird having him in my backyard.

Weird in what way?

I think someone's at my door.

Well, maybe you should see who it is.

I'll call you later.


What am I doing?

Hey, Vincent. How are you doing?

Heard you're taking in struggling artists.



You know, I've been trying to train him.

Oh, yeah?

Mm-hmm. Watch this.

Vincent, sit.

He doesn't do anything on command.

Oh, is that so? Watch this, actually.

Vincent... don't sit.

I take it back. You're great with him.


What can I say? He's easy to like.

Let's get you settled in.

-Grab those. -Uh-huh.

So you have the studio. You have the ability.

Why don't you paint?

I had a show last year.

Not a single sale or positive review.

Well, art is subjective. van Gogh only sold one painting, and now they go for millions.

Unfortunately, he left me out of the will.


No, well, I know my limitations.

Rembrandt, Picasso... all the greats, they were defiantly themselves, and I color inside the lines.

So why don't you try busting out?

I'm... not sure I have it in me... and I've made my peace with that.

There's extra blankets in the closet if you need them.

I hope you don't mind sleeping on a cot.

Oh, no, I'm very familiar with cots.

I stayed at friends' houses and relatives whenever my dad was deployed, so...

That must have been tough.

I was the son of a soldier.

As soon as I was old enough, I joined the Army.

It's the only life I knew.

Until this one?

That's right, yeah.

All right, well, I have some papers to grade, so I'll get out of here.


Oh, I forgot Vincent.

He loves it in here.

Come on, buddy. There you go.

Thank you.

No more kissing.

The thought never even crossed my mind.

Ah, that's very reassuring.

It seems to cross yours, though.

Only as something we need to avoid.

Good night, Doc.

Sleep well.

Who was the other painter Paul Gauguin.


I can't remember who painted what, or when, or why... including myself.

All I wanted to do was paint on my boat, alone.

Okay, you know what? Forget the facts.

The subject is art.

There is no right or wrong.

Matisse had a painting in a museum that was hanging upside down, and no one even noticed.


The curator said, "Art, like love, is open to interpretation."

You believe that?

Yeah, I do.

The part about love?

Love is always a mystery.

Not to me.

When you know, you know. You know?

Looks like somebody's ready for his walk.

Somebody wants to change the subject.

What do you think of that there, Vincent?

You know, the other dogs are twice his size, but Vincent is always the leader of the pack.

Aren't you?

Aren't you, Vincent?

Here, give me kisses.

[mock gasps]

Vincent, how many times do I gotta to tell you?

"No more kissing."

He doesn't obey commands.

Neither do I.

[Harper]: I taught two classes, and I was so scattered.

Is Dr. Higgins having some doubts?

I've got to go.

I've got to teach at the Arts Collective.

Wow, that's a lot of teaching.

At least no one's judging my work-- not even me, Lindsay, we need to go over the curriculum.

Oh, certainly.

I'll meet you in my office?


All right.

Is everything okay?

Yeah, I'm just trying to prepare for the show and get through my classes.

Well, the classes are the whole point.

Have you given much thought to your courses next semester?

I have, but nothing definitive yet.


Hi! I'm Nancy.

Tom. Pleasure.

Buster isn't much trouble...


Except for the barking.

[high-pitched yelping]

He's very vocal.

Not a problem.

'Kay, we'll have him back in one piece.

Thank you.

'Kay. Come on, everybody!

Here we go! Here we go!

And they're off to the races!

All right, it's Vincent with an early lead!

Sammy's in one to make a charge.

Okay, who's this creeping up the right side?

Oh, my goodness!


May I help you?

Hi, I'm Dr. Harper Higgins.

Your 10:00?

From the Cambridge Institute of Fine Arts?

Um... remind me.

What is this about?

Yes, of course.

I'm having a show at the college, and I was hoping you could attend.

Only if I'm familiar with the artist.

Tom Becker.

I don't know him.

But you do know talent.

May I?

Go ahead.


He certainly has potential.

That I believe has been fully realized.


Go on.

Where has he exhibited?

He hasn't.

The Bainbridge Gallery could be the first to exhibit his art.

Well, I'm happy you pressed your point.

Will we be expecting you at the show?

I'll be in touch.


Well, I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Thank you for your time.

[starts car]

Did you get a chance to read my essay?

It was short, which is telling.

Write about something you connect with... a painting, an artist...

I'll see you at my party tomorrow night.

Yes, Dr. Browning.

And of course, you're going to be bringing van Gogh's great-great-grandson.

Is that for real?

Surely, you've heard about her talented discovery?

The art show is for alumni and donors.

I haven't shared anything with my students.

Well, I'm sure they would be very interested.

I certainly would.

Me too.

Well then, perhaps it's time to spread the word.



You want to grab lunch?


What's wrong?

I take it you haven't seen this.

-Seen what? -The school website.

What about it?

Lars had them post an ad about the art show... with a little blurb about Tom and van Gogh.

[Harper]: Oh, no.

[Lindsay]: Oh, yes.

This is probably all over the campus by now.

This whole thing's gotten out of control.

All right, you know what, Vincent?

While we have a minute, been meaning to talk to you about a few things.

Wonder if you could help me out?

So... I think it's no secret I really like your mother, but I just want to know... that Rick guy, is he in the picture?

Is he?

Exactly. You just shook your head.

Thank you.

So that's a no. I'm taking that as a no.

That's good.

What about her favorite color?

Is it blue?

Don't bark if it's a yes.

All right. Thanks, pal.

I appreciate that.

Man to man. I feel like I can trust you.

Come here.

Cuddle in. Cuddle in close.

This is where you belong.

We're partners, you know.

We're buddies.

[Harper]: Klimt was one of the founding members of the influential Vienna Secession.

The group included naturalist, realist, and symbolist elements.

As we all know, Klimt was a symbolist.


How do you know Tom Becker is related to van Gogh?

The subject is Klimt.

Do you believe talent can be inherited?

Even if he's really good, doesn't mean it's in his genes.

[Harper]: That won't be on the exam, but Klimt will.

My students had so many questions, I ran out of answers.

That's exactly what's going to happen to me at this party.

I don't know how I didn't see all this coming.

All right, you know what?

No more tutoring... no more worrying... and no more painting.

Let's take a break.

But the party's tomorrow night.

We've still got to eat.

Come on, let's go get some pizza.

It'll be fun. You remember fun, right?

Right, Doc?


Oh, my God. This is so good.

You know, maybe it's the company.

Maybe it's a bit of both.

You know, you have the most extraordinary eyes.

They have those little gold flecks.

Ever the artist.

Who else would notice something so subtle?

Well, there's more, though.

It's the way your mouth turns up when you smile, the pink pale of your cheeks... look at 'em!

Which are now turning red, thank you very much.

Well, whatever the color.

Okay, less flirting, more pizza.


Whatever you say, Doc.

This really is good, though, and I should know.

A single father home on leave, I mean, what else are we going to eat, right?

No, I know what you mean.

Take-out was a food group with my family.

We have that in common.

Yeah, we do.

I mean, not just the improvised dinners, but the loneliness.

You see me pretty clearly.

Is that a bad thing?


except for the red cheeks.

I just wish there was a way that we could come clean and not have this hanging over us.

I just don't know how, or when, or what to say.

I just feel so much pressure already putting my paintings on display.


Why is it so hard for you?

Well... it's like you with your red cheeks.

It's hard being seen.

You know, that same thing applies to my paintings.

They're a part of me.

A part so worth knowing.

Maybe that's the silver lining in all this.

What's that?

You and me.

Maybe so.

All my students want to talk about is van Gogh's great-great-grandson.

Yeah, and that's all Dr. Martin wants to talk about, and the board.

I have to find a way out of this.

I can't have this affect Tom's career.

I just... I couldn't live with that...

Hi, Dr. Browning.

We were just talking about Tom Becker and his impressive work.

Well, I can hardly wait to meet him.

The party's in just a few hours, so don't be late.

I'll get home and change.

And Dean Whitney and his wife will also be attending.

Ah, the more the merrier.

This promises to be quite an evening.

It certainly does.


Sorry I'm late. I've been walking dogs.

The party starts at 7:00, so...

Okay, we need to relieve the pressure.


Maybe we can bring Vincent.



He comes when you call him?

Occasionally, yeah.

Wow, uh...

Hey, Vincent!

I think this is cause for celebration!

I even got him to sit.


All right, well, Vincent... sit.

All right, it was, like, the tenth time that I asked him.

He was probably just trying to fit in with the other dogs, 'cause they're always sitting.

He did do it.

He's really won my heart.

The feeling's mutual.

I hope so.

All right, um...

I should get changed.

Yeah. Me too.

Come on.

What do you think?


Artists wouldn't wear a tie.



You look stunning.

I have my stylist, Vincent, to thank.


Look, this is a cocktail party.

We're both dressed up.

Let's just treat this like a regular date, okay?

An incredibly complicated regular date.

You look so beautiful tonight.

No more kissing.

[Dr. Browning]: Welcome!

I'm your host, Dr. Lars Browning.

Tom Becker.

Can't say I detect any resemblance to van Gogh.


Everyone is very anxious to meet you.

Oh, there's Dr. Martin.

He's the head of our department.

We're so excited about your show.

Your ancestry is creating a lot of curiosity, to say the least.

Well, I hope that my work can speak for itself.

Oh, there's Dean Whitney and his wife, Lisa, and this is the artist we're all so excited to meet, Tom Becker.




[Dr. Martin]: This is very exciting.

And now I'd like to introduce you to an expert on all things van Gogh, Rick Abbot.

You said he was a former colleague.

I didn't think I should introduce him as your former boyfriend.

Rick Abbot.

I feel a bit protective of Harper, so when I heard about your link to van Gogh, I had my doubts.

Well, when I see his paintings, I feel very humbled.

And which of his paintings do you find most humbling?

Probably "Starry Night," or any of the work that he did in Arles.

And do you view that as the birth of Post-Impressionism?

Uh... I guess you could say that.

Um... he began using emotion to connect with the viewer.

His work was so personal, it became universal.

I've never heard it put so well.

[Dr. Martin]: I agree.

And how are you and van Gogh related?

My grandmother's from the Netherlands, from Zundert...

And her father didn't speak English, so the Immigration Officer at Ellis Island gave him a new name.

Same thing happened to my grandfather.

[Tom]: My grandmother saved all my drawings and hoped that I would follow in his footsteps.

And as she predicted, you became an artist.

Well, I would like to attend your show.

Didn't you receive your invitation?


[Dr. Martin]: Harper?

Here you are, Mrs. Whitney.

Mm, the peonies... they're perfection.

This is very good work.

[Dean Whitney]: And very reminiscent of van Gogh.

To Dr. Higgins' discovery... and to the showing of Tom Becker's work. Cheers.

I guess I should feel relieved, but I feel awful.

Yeah, me too.

Dr. Martin was so proud, and the Dean's wife was cheering us on... and I like these people. I respect them.

This just isn't me, dancing around the truth like that.

I... I can't feel like this anymore.

It just isn't worth it.

What do we do now?

We find a way to make it right.

All right, the sooner, the better.

We just have to figure out how.

I already feel better... in an overwhelmed kind of way.

Me too.

Come on.

You're painting?

That's... that's great!

Don't let me interrupt.

No, I...

I keep second-guessing myself, painting over everything I start, so...

It'll come. Just don't worry about it.


Peyton wants an original for the students to copy, and subject matter's not my strong suit.

Still-life isn't cutting it.

Excuse me.

Well, don't worry about them.

You just... do whatever you want, and... paint how you feel but can't find the words to say.

Easy for you to say.

Well, it's a good thing opposites attract, then, isn't it?

Well, I've got to get to work.

Teaching may not be right for me.

I'm not sure I know where I belong anymore.

Well, that's quite an admission.

If only I could be that honest on a canvas.

Dr. Higgins?

I redid my essay, and I wrote about van Gogh because of your show.

I look forward to reading it.

Thank you!

I want to go to Tom Becker's show.

How do I get on the list?

The invitations have already gone out.

Sorry, guys, I'm late for my class.

Tom and I have decided to come clean.

Good, but I think you should wait 'til after the show.

It's only a few days.

Yeah, I guess... but...

who do I tell?

What do I say?

Dr. Martin would be a good start.

[Harper]: Lindsay thinks we should wait until after the party.

We've already got all those RSVPs.

Maybe she's right.

Victoria Bainbridge is coming.

As in the Bainbridge Gallery?

This is a good thing.

Okay... so after the show, we set the record straight.

I'll go up to Dr. Martin and pull him aside very discreetly, 'cause I don't want to embarrass him.



Well, in the meanwhile, I've got some dogs to walk.

I know you said no kissing, but you looked like you could use that.

Yeah... yeah, I kind of did.


Come on!

I don't know what to say.

I'm glad you like it.

It's beautiful.

How can you be this good at something and not own it?

You finally tell me that you've been painting all the flowers that you buy, like it's a secret.

If I were this good at something, I would share it with the world!

I appreciate that.

You do something that matters.

Get up there.

Get up there. What're you doing?

Mr. Becker!

What a pleasant surprise.

What are you doing with all these dogs?

Uh... uh, they're my neighbors' dogs.

Well, you must be a real dog-lover.

Shouldn't you be preparing for your show?

Say, isn't that Dr. Higgins' dog?


Yeah, I walk him as a favor sometimes.

I'd better get going.

Got to get home and paint, you know?

Come on, guys, here we go!

Where is home, by the way?

Mr. Becker?

Huh... you added carrots and corn...

Mm-hmm... and red pepper for color.

You even turn salad into art.

I think it should look as good as it tastes.

So I ran into Lars today.

What? When?

I was taking the dogs to the park, and there he was.

Does he think you're a dog-walker?

Would that be so bad?

-He thinks you're an artist. -I am an artist... one who just happens to walk dogs.

I'm sorry, I just...

Hey, you know, that's the problem with dishonesty.

It crowds out happiness.

Yeah, I'm well aware, thanks.

I'm not blaming you.

Well, I blame myself, and that feels much worse.


I'm sorry, I just... I'm so stressed.

Well, I'm sorry you're so stressed, we can't even enjoy this dinner.

Dinner's the least of our worries.

All right, well...

I'm going to clear my head. I'm going to take a walk.



How did we get here?

I don't know, but here we are.


-Hi. -Hi.

Buster loves his walks.

That's great.

He's been a great addition to the troops.


[Tom]: Okay.

Have a good day!

Come on, guys. Come on!


Oh, it's Vincent that takes the early lead!

Come on, Vincent! Come on, pal!

Okay! Charging up the left side!

Oh, we've got a real tight one on our hands here, folks!

[Dr. Browning]: Excuse me?

I don't mean to bother you, but I noticed your dog.


You see, I'm looking for someone to walk my dog.

Tom walks Buster twice a day.

He's very dependable, always on time.

Well, that's very good to know.

Thank you.

You're welcome. Bye.

[Tom]: You know, I hope to earn more at this art show.

Yeah, well... don't worry about it. I'm in no hurry.

Should all be there.

So how's it going?

You seem to be doing a lot of painting.

All the time. I can't seem to stop.

That should give you a pretty good clue about what your next chapter is.

Yeah, you know...

I meet a woman, and all of a sudden, my whole life just turned upside down.

Who's that, Harper?

The one with the dog?


She seemed really nice.

I think I might be falling in love, Frank.


Well, there's nothing wrong with that.

Does she feel the same way?


I don't know. It's hard to say.

Things are pretty complicated right now.

Love always is.


Hey, can I help you?

I'm looking for Tom Becker.

Oh, you just missed him.

Oh, I was hoping to talk to him about some of his paintings.

He's pretty good, don't you think?

I'm a big fan.

Yeah... and he just sort of stumbled into it.

Turns out he's got all this talent.

So... no formal training?

No, he just took an art therapy class at the V.A. hospital.

That's it.

Well... he's had quite a journey.

Let's start with the peonies, seeing as how that is what's on the invitations.

Ah. It's perfect.

What do you think?

I think he's remarkable.

The painting?

What do you think of the painting?

He kissed me... in the rain.

It was magical.

I'm not sure I like feeling this way.

Well, you know what they say... love is a gamble.

But you're right.

He has the goods.

He inspires me.

I started painting again.

Every day, I get a little bit braver.

Then why are you whispering?

[loudly] I'm painting again!

Yes! There you go!

I know, Vincent.

I'm nervous, too.

Can't sleep.

Neither can I.

I just... I want everything to go well tonight, you know?

I want you to be okay. I want to tell the truth.

I just... I keep rehearsing what to say in my head.

I feel the exact same way.

Whatever happens...

We'll be okay.

By this time tomorrow, everything will be... over.

Well, except the kissing part.

[Harper laughs]

I feel better about this already.

Hey, what do you say we come back tomorrow, huh?

The artist is generally required to attend his own show.

Yeah, when his ancestry didn't get him in the door.

Your talent is all that matters, and that will endure long after tonight.

What happens with you and me?

A lot more moonlit walks in the rain.

I can see van Gogh's influence.

He really has an extraordinary eye.

Oh, this painting is fabulous.

I love the violets, and the terrier.

I want them both.

I suppose I'll be needing my checkbook.

The show has exceeded my expectations.

Thank you, Dr. Martin.

Thank you.

Hello. I'm Victoria Bainbridge.


Thank you so much for coming.

I'm so impressed with your work.

I usually don't represent unknown artists, but you are exceptional, in every sense.

I don't know what to say.

[Rick]: You just hit the big-time.

Smile, and, uh... sign on the dotted line.

When I heard that story about you and van Gogh, I didn't believe it, but now I'm happy to admit that I do.

Well, I hope you'll judge my work on its own merit.

[Victoria]: Of course, but your pedigree will certainly open many doors.

We need to talk.

About what?

I know that Sergeant Tom Becker is a fraud.

You invented this link to van Gogh to get him a show and to get yourself promoted.

I'll do anything you ask, but please...

May I have your attention?

I would like to make an announcement, please.

It seems that we have been misinformed.

There is no evidence that Tom Becker is a descendant of Vincent van Gogh.

[guests murmuring]

[Dr. Martin]: Dr. Higgins... is this true?

I'm so sorry. This is all my fault.

No... not at all.

Everybody, we owe you an apology.

We made a terrible mistake.

I'm so, so sorry.

The look on Dr. Martin's face...

I know.

I tried to explain to Victoria Bainbridge, but what was there to say?

They're dismantling the show tomorrow.

Lindsay says we have to come pick up the paintings.

Well, we got what we deserve.

You didn't. I certainly did.

There's enough regret to go around.

I sold myself out, and for what?

To become Dr. Higgins full-time?

That isn't even who I am.

What happens now?

I have a lot of apologies to make.

Yeah, there's a few I'd like to make myself.

Just... promise me you won't stop painting.

I won't. I wouldn't even know how.

Hey... we'll get through this.

I promise.

This is the worst night of my life.

Somehow, I believe you.

[car alarm chirps]

I understand my affiliation with the college is over, but that's not why I'm here.

I wanted to apologize to you personally.

There's no excuse for what I did, and my deepest regret is the cost to you and the Department.

How long have you been rehearsing that?

Too long.

I should have been honest from the start.

Over time, this will just become an anecdote that students will like to tell.

It won't have any impact on the college.

I can't say as much for your career.

And I accept that.

I'm not even sure I was cut out for this job.

Well, if we're being honest, I agree.

It's not you. It's not who you are.

Yeah, um...

I always wanted to be an artist.

I guess I just lost my nerve and tried to be somebody else.

You know that old adage, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach"?

Well, it's completely wrong.

Those who teach, and teach well, were born to it.

Figure out what you ere born to do, and don't let anything deter you.

You really have this teaching thing down.

I wish you well, Harper.

Thank you.

I don't have much time.

I just wanted to apologize to you in person.

I felt like I at least owed you that much.

I have a reputation to protect, and I owe it to my clients to maintain it.

The fact that you even considered representing me means more to me than you could ever know.

You didn't need to fabricate a background.

Your work is good enough to stand on its own.

You have a real talent.

You need to honor it... and trust in it.

Thank you.

My whole teaching career fits in a cardboard box.

Well, I have some good news, if you can believe it.

What's that?

The Dean's wife wants to buy two of Tom's paintings.

Really, are you sure?

Yes, and she said, and I quote, "I don't care who he is or isn't related to.

I want to see those paintings on my wall every day."

I knew I liked her. Now I know why.

Wow, now Tom can repair his boat.

That's great!

What's going to happen to you?

Look, I'll be fine.

I can teach at the Arts Collective.

I took a pretty strange route to get here, but suddenly, all I want to do is paint.

Then you ended up on the right path.

I even found the right guy.

Yes, you did.


Every time I look at that painting, it puts a smile on my face.

What do I owe you?

Just a small commission.

My customers love that painting.

One of them even wanted to buy it.

Maybe you could show your work here... kind of like a little gallery.


Thank you!

Yeah, that'd be great!


What do you think?

[Student]: It's so romantic.

Well done.

Vincent, just another beautiful day for a walk, isn't it?

Okay, okay, hold up here.

Hold up.

Vincent, come here.

All right, let's try this one more time.

Come here. Vincent?



Okay, wait a second.

See if that was just a fluke.

One more time. On your feet, soldier.

Okay, Vincent, sit.

It's a miracle.

Good boy! Good boy.

Okay. I can't wait to show Harper what we can do.

Let's go! Come on, buddy.


Vincent is a real dog today!

Everybody! I've got a surprise for you.


You going to show 'em? 'Kay.

Vincent... sit.

[clapping, cheering]

Good boy.

[Harper]: That's amazing... and I have a surprise for you.

You remember that night?

Just like I'm going to remember this one.

Art imitating life imitating art.

I'm really glad I took this class.

If I hadn't bumped into you that day, and I didn't need a dog-walker, where would we be now?

You know, I think Vincent would have brought us together.

It's fate.

Whatever it is, I'll take it.

Come on.

I want to paint you just the way you look right now.

We may need another easel.