Big Eyes Movie Review
Big Eyes Movie Review Metadata
Margaret Keane (Adams) is a woman and an artist whose work gained tremendous popularity in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. A majority of her subjects were waifish children with hauntingly beautiful disproportionately large eyes. The reason you may not have heard of her is because her (second) husband, Walter Keane (Waltz) took credit for her work and sold them as his own. Walter convinced her the world wouldn’t receive the art well coming from a woman and the only chance it had to sell was if he passed it off as his own. The film is about Margeret’s struggle for inner strength and equality in her marriage and in society.
The movie is linear and follows a pretty straightforward timeline. Some parts of the story seem rushed and a little too comical, but it was easy to follow and enjoyable to watch. We see Keane go from a woman escaping an abusive marriage to emerging as an artist and fighting for the recognition she deserves, all while trying to raise her daughter and be a role model to her.
I never felt like I was watching Amy Adams play Margeret Keane or Christoph Waltz play Walter Keane, I felt like I was watching Walter and Margeret Keane on the big screen. Adams’ portrayal of Keane from victim to hero is legit; she exercises some serious acting muscles. As far as the ever brilliant Waltz, his portrayal of Walter Keane was, well, brilliant. According to Keane, Waltz portrayal of her ex-husband was near perfect. I expect awards attention for both Waltz and Adams. The supporting cast was quite good as well, highlighted by Krysten Ritter (27 Dresses) who play’s Margaret’s sassy, sarcastic and supportive best friend and Terence Stamp (Superman, The Adjustment Bureau) who plays Walter’s arch nemesis art critic.
This movie didn’t feel like a “Tim Burton film” yet it did have a Tim Burton feel to it. Keane’s artwork is definitely something you would expect to see in a Tim Burton film and the subject matter definitely matched the “Tim Burton style,” but thank god the film didn’t look like the inside of Tim Burton’s head. I did feel that certain scenes were a little to campy, to schticky but overall the movie flowed very well and looked fantastic.
The best compliment I can give this film is that I fell in love with it. This film is so versatile; It is a film about art. It is a film about a woman’s struggle for recognition and independence and success in a male dominated time. It is about a woman finding her inner strength to live her own life and be a role model for her daughter. Looking at Margaret Keane’s paintings make me feel good and looking at this film made me feel good. I laughed, I got scared, I got angry and eventually I felt triumphant. Also, I felt grateful. I had never heard of Margaret Keane before I saw this film and I had never seen her artwork. I am grateful now that both of those things have changed.