In Loving Vincent (2017), Joseph Roulin asks his son Armand to deliver Vincent's last letter to his brother, Theo:

Joseph Roulin: I don't want Mr. Theo thinking that we been sitting on it. Tell him how Geno didn't even bother handing it over to me until he heard that Vincent had.

I find difficulty in understanding this last sentence. That sentence feels off, but I think "had" is referring to "handing it over", which means that Vincent gave his own letter to Joseph. But that doesn't make a lot of sense, because he'd be given the same letter twice. It honestly just feels like there's a word missing. Like "had passed", so it would mean that Geno didn't give the letter until he knew Vincent had died.

  • 2
    I agree that there is a word missing.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 18:43
  • I second @Colin. If you make the sentence "...that Vincent had passed" (or "died" or similar), as I think it was meant to be, does that clear up your confusion? Or do you have more questions?
    – randomhead
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 20:22
  • As is almost always the case, the question would have been improved by the inclusion of more context. The very next piece of dialogue clears things up, as indicated in my answer. More context is always better!
    – randomhead
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


I have not seen the film myself but I did find this transcript online, which has the passage:

Tell him how Geno didn't even bother handing it over to me until he heard that Vincent had.

Killed himself? Why do you find that so hard to believe?

The transcript does not indicate who is speaking, but it seems clear that there are two people having a dialogue. The first person (you say it is Joseph Roulin) says the first part of the dialogue, but because he is in disbelief or shock about Vincent killing himself, he does not finish his sentence. The second person (Armand) finishes it for him.

As you guessed, there is a missing verb at the end of the sentence, which the other character provided. It is common in literature and film to write things like this, where a character trails off or stops speaking before they finish their sentence. When this happens it is customary to indicate it with an ellipsis, to make it clear what the author intended:

until he heard that Vincent had...

But in this case the transcript does not show this, leading to your confusion.

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