There are some things that we see all the time and it never crosses our minds to think about where they came from. One of my favorites comes from Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin ponders who was the first human to look at a cow’s udder and say, “I’m going to drink whatever comes out of this.” But I digress. I had seen the big eyed little waif pictures before, but I had never thought about who painted them. And lo and behold, Tim Burton decides to make a movie about this. Well this ought to be interesting.
Life is tough for Margaret (Amy Adams) and her daughter. She’s left her husband to make a life in San Francisco. There she meets fellow artist Walter Keane (Chrisoph Waltz) a charming man who sweeps her off her feet. The two marry and attempt to make ends meet selling their paintings. But when Margaret’s big-eyed waif paintings start selling like hotcakes, Walter accidently tells a few folks that he painted them.
Soon the lie gets out of control, and as the popularity of the art grows, so does Walter’s fame. Margaret is pushed aside to paint in a secluded room in their own house (even hiding the truth from her own daughter) while Walter finds more ways to exploit their fame. But this secret can’t stay buried forever, and when it gets out that Margaret may have painted all the paintings with Big Eyes, Walter isn’t going to let her get away with it. Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp and Jon Polito round out the cast.
- Solid acting by the whole cast
- Some great use of colors and visuals
- Moves at a good pace
- Follows the typical biopic beats – no surprises here
- Comes across a little less visually interesting than you’d expect from Mr. Burton
- A few characters seem to get lost in the story only to reappear when needed
This is one of those movies that will be a great find for those interested in the Keane’s saga already. For everyone else, it is solid entertainment, but is missing that extra something to really knock it out of the park. Part of issue is expectations. Burton crafted the amazingly entertaining Ed Wood so I was expecting something with a bit more of a unique flavor. But this is not even in the same league. It is closer to Lovelace. Not a bad film by any means, but not one you are likely to remember a year or two from now.
Scores (out of 5)
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