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Big Eyes (2014)

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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.

Director:

Tim Burton
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Popularity
2,262 ( 417)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Adams ... Margaret Keane
Christoph Waltz ... Walter Keane
Danny Huston ... Dick Nolan
Krysten Ritter ... Dee-Ann
Jason Schwartzman ... Ruben
Terence Stamp ... John Canaday
Jon Polito ... Enrico Banducci
Delaney Raye ... Young Jane
Madeleine Arthur ... Older Jane
James Saito ... Judge
Farryn VanHumbeck ... Lily
Guido Furlani ... Dino Olivetti
Elisabetta Fantone ... Olivetti Girl
Emily Maddison ... 2nd Olivetti Girl (as Emily Bruhn)
Brent Chapman Brent Chapman ... Factory Boss
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Storyline

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 Anne Campbell

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A true story about art and the art of deception. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

25 December 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Velike oči See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,610,026, 2 January 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,479,776, 22 March 2015

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,059,366, 3 February 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (ACES)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Amy Adams liked the script when it was offered to her, but she originally turned down the role of Margaret because the character lacked "a stronger sense of self". Working on American Hustle (2013) gave Adams a new perspective of the character, and the character's "quiet dignity" won her over. The relationship between the mother and the daughter spoke to her as well. See more »

Goofs

During the shot of the reporter outside the courthouse, a camera operator shoots the story. The camera is missing the drive belt, which should be connected to the magazine to run the film through the camera to be exposed. It's clearly a non-working prop. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dick Nolan: [narrating] 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]
Dick Nolan: 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.
Margaret Keane: Come on, Janie.
[they get into the car]
See more »


Soundtracks

The Art Gallery
Written and Performed by Andy Richards
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
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User Reviews

touching drama
1 January 2015 | by mukava991See all my reviews

Tim Burton's touching dramatization of the relationship of Margaret and Walter Keane almost works but somehow the dramatic arc seems arbitrary and we must accept the developments in their story as much from what the characters announce about themselves as from what we see enacted emotionally. Essentially, the husband is what we might call a pathological liar and the wife is one of the most gullible and trusting people who ever lived.

The shy, self-effacing art school graduate Margaret Ulbrich specialized in painting portraits of children with big, sad eyes which she would sell at street fairs for pocket change. When she walked out on her husband in 1958 to make a new life for herself and her daughter in San Francisco, she met and married the aggressive Walter Keane, a real estate broker who pretended to be a Sunday painter but was actually a plagiarist with marketing skills who took over the marketing of Margaret's works and sold them under his own name, first on canvas and then as mass produced posters, becoming a well-known purveyor of mid-20th-century kitsch who, as his character claims in the film, inspired Andy Warhol.

Amy Adams is appropriately choked up and tremulous as Margaret but Christoph Waltz is an odd choice for Walter. For starters, the character is as American as the Great Plains but Waltz cannot entirely obliterate his Austrian accent; it colors his every utterance. Then, his theatrical mannerisms make him seem more like someone with Multiple Personality Disorder than a mere Jekyll-and-Hyde, as his wife describes him at one point. Waltz entertains us, and we are conscious that we are seeing a bravura performance, but we are not getting the human being named Walter Keane.

Burton makes very good use of the singularly appealing Terence Stamp as John Canaday, a highbrow New York Times art critic who lambasts the Keane oeuvre in print, leading to a confrontation at a cocktail party – a fire and ice moment and a high point of the film.

The film leaves a touching, but light impression, much like the big-eyed paintings at its center.


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