Big Eyes

She created it. He sold it. And they bought it.

106 min     7     2014     Canada


The story of the awakening of painter, Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.


John Chard wrote:
Film making could be the windows of the soul... Directed by Tim Burton and written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Big Eyes brings to the screen the story of artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), who was producing a number of paintings of waifs with big eyes that captured the art world's imagination. Unfortunately her charlatan husband (Christolph Waltz) manipulated the interest in her work to claim it as his own, leading to Margaret having to front up to the lie and take the case to court. Quite often the beauty of filmic cinema is that it can bring notice to the public about certain topics in history. The story of Margaret Keane is a story well worth telling, it may not be all encompassing as a biography since it is just about the key part of her life, but getting the story out there is to be applauded. I myself knew nothing about the Keane case, but I'm glad I do now, this film adaptation forcing me to seek out further reading on the subject. It actually doesn't matter if you have a bent for art on canvas (me, but I do find those paintings beautifully beguiling), this is more about the human spirit, the crushing of such and the birth of. However, sadly to a degree the film often seems at odds with itself via tonal flows. There's whimsy where there shouldn't be, the drama should be front and centre, whilst Waltz's performance is awfully cartoonish, way too animated, and these problems are laid firmly at Burton's door, an odd choice of director for the material, it's like they felt the off kilter look of the paintings marked Burton as a shoe-in to direct. Conversely he gets a sparkling turn out of Adams, she plays Margaret as being so vulnerable but radiant, yet she's perfectly infuriating as well, tugging our heart strings whilst troubling our anger senses. It's the strength of Adams' turn that steers Big Eyes away from choppy waters, for even as the court case that makes up the finale is given too little time to breath and make the ultimate mark, Adams as Margaret holds her own court and seals the deal for a big uplift - which in turn marks Big Eyes out as a film of great warmth and importance. 7.5/10