A drama about 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.
In San Francisco in the 1950s, Margaret was a woman trying to make it on her own after leaving her husband with only her daughter and her paintings. She meets gregarious ladies' man and fellow painter Walter Keane in a park while she was struggling to make an impact with her drawings of children with big eyes. The two quickly become a pair with outgoing Walter selling their paintings and quiet Margaret holed up at home painting even more children with big eyes. But Walter's actually selling her paintings as his own. A clash of financial success and critical failure soon sends Margaret reeling in her life of lies. With Walter still living the high life, Margaret's going to have to try making it on her own again and re-claiming her name and her paintings.Written by
The Keanes' house strongly resembles the work of Joseph Eichler, one of America's most influential architects and social visionaries. He helped establish the California Modern style from the 1950s to the mid-1960s by bringing high-end design concepts to the mass market. Signature features of "Eichler Homes" include glass walls, post-and-beam construction, A-frame roofs, and open floor plans. See more »
An early scene shows Margaret and Walter painting a landscape in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts building. In the 1950s the Palace was a crumbling ruin, fenced off and not visible to the public. It was restored in the 1960s. See more »
The '50s were a grand time, if you were a man. I'm Dick Nolan. I make things up for a living - I'm a reporter.
[Margaret frantically packing things]
It's the strangest goddamn story that I ever covered. It started the day that Margaret Ulbrich walked out on her suffocating husband, long before it became the fashionable thing to do.
Come on, Janie.
[they get into the car]
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Christoph Waltz steals the show in Big Eyes, Tim Burton's whimsical tale of an artist and a scandal set in the transporting setting of California in the 60's.
The story of Big Eyes is something straight out of the movies, but no, the tale of Margaret Keane and her artistry is based on fact and real life.
Tim Burton's Big Eyes is a dramatic narrative of Margaret Keane, the painter, mother and wife. Having left her husband, with daughter in tow, she seeks a new beginning in California. While there, she hopes to make a living through her art and subsequently meets and marries a man named Walter. Trying to navigate the art world and make a living, her husband claims credit for her artwork which eventually becomes highly profitable. Burton focuses on the awakening of Keane as an artist and to her husband's shortcomings and the legal difficulties in claiming ownership of her work.
Margaret Keane's life is a fascinating and near unbelievable one. And much of Big Eyes' success as a film rests comfortably on that very story. Well, Big Eyes rests on the story of Keane and on Christoph Waltz's immeasurable charm in his performance as Walter Keane.
The sad big eyed children made commercially famous by Keane are uniquely peculiar. Stylistically, it was only right that Tim Burton should direct a film about the painter. It is apparent that Big Eyes is a Burton film; however, Tim Burton subdues his style substantially so that the narrative of this marvelous woman can take center stage. Creatively, this is a refreshing departure for the director.
The Big Eyes movie parallels the artwork of Margaret Keane in an unintentional manner. Margaret Keane was able to look at a person and capture their essence and then put it on canvas with her own twist through large sad eyes. Similarly, Tim Burton takes the core elements of Keane's life and translates it to film with his own fanciful creative liberties. Though everything is in the movie adaptation of Big Eyes, it lacks substance and heart to connect with the audience to have a lasting impression.
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