Big Eyes (2014) Poster

(I) (2014)

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4/10
Let down by mundane direction
Leofwine_draca4 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
BIG EYES is yet another example of Tim Burton as a modern-day director: lazy, stuck in the past, and not seeming to make much effort at all when it comes to memorable moments. This film features vanilla direction that'll remind you of a typical TV movie of the 1990s. The real-life story is about a married couple who took the American art world by storm in the 1950s and 1960s by their paintings of children with huge, expression-filled eyes, but their marriage hid a dark secret: for a decade the wife had been doing the painting and the husband taking all the credit. For me, the real interest in the story comes from the media fall-out and the subsequent court case, but this is all crammed into the last half an hour and there's a lot of water-treading before that point. Christoph Waltz is reliably good as a different type of bad guy but Amy Adams fails to convince and is unsympathetic as the lead; she feels like she's self-consciously acting, that's all.
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7/10
traditional biopic
SnoopyStyle25 May 2015
It's 1958 Northern California. Margaret Ulbrich (Amy Adams) leaves her husband and takes her young daughter Jane to San Francisco following her friend DeeAnn. When her husband threatening to take Jane away, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) proposes to her and they quickly marry. Walter rents wall space from club owner Enrico Banducci and they get into a fight which makes it on the front page. Reporter Dick Nolan writes about Walter and his paintings. What started as a misunderstanding becomes a full blown lie. The paintings become a hit as Walter becomes a salesman taking credit for all the paintings. Eventually Walter finds that selling posters are more profitable and big eyes become everywhere. Times reporter John Canaday is a harsh critic.

This is a surprisingly traditional biopic from director Tim Burton. Other than the big eyed people that Margaret sees in a couple of scenes, there is nothing that is obviously Burtonesque. Amy Adams does a nice performance although I think her character is a little bit too willful at the beginning. It would be more dramatic to have her character grow over time. Christoph Waltz is amazing as the impresario manic salesman. In the end, this is a well made biopic with a couple of good performances and a couple of funny moments.
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10/10
Eye did it
nogodnomasters14 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The film is based on an incredible true story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) the creator of the Big Eyes painting phenomenon. For a decade her domineering husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) took credit for the paintings as he also had the gift of gab and can sell them. They market the paintings, posters, post cards etc. Eventually Margaret can no longer live with the lie, as this ends in a comical court room scene.

In addition to being a story of the painting, it is one of the male dominated society and over coming the obedience idea in the name of honesty. This is a subdued Amy Adams and not the sexpot we saw in "American Hustle." The acting was good, but I felt the film was just short of an Oscar nod.

Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity.
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8/10
Tim Burton eyes
kosmasp6 February 2016
So this is probably where Burtons big Eyes inspiration came from. Sometimes it feels like the main character (Amy Adams) is speaking for him, when she talks about inspiration or why she does things. While the character she is playing is a real life person and this is based on real events, there seems to be a bit of Burton in her character too. But that just might be the case, because he was probably inspired by her.

Christoph Waltz is amazing in this one too. Playing his role with a gusto and energy that he seems to thrive on. A man equal parts likable, but also completely over the top. It's a tough one to pull off, but he does a great job. Combined with the amazing effort from Adams, this makes a great interesting relationship between those two. Also, back then, there were many other issues, women had to deal with ... A great, if sometimes draining watch!
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7/10
"From now on, we're one and the same."
classicsoncall2 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The most amazing thing to learn about the massive fraud perpetrated by Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) was that he did it right out in the open, with no attempt (at least later on) to hide the fact from his wife Margaret (Amy Adams). As the story progressed, I found myself getting irritated that Margaret kept going along with the masquerade, especially when he was getting all the credit, appearing on television, and hobnobbing with celebrities like Bob Hope, Red Skelton and Johnny Carson. The story is as much about Margaret's inferiority complex and inability to stand up for herself as it is about Walter's massive ego and need to be stroked at every gallery exhibit and museum unveiling. You have to hand it to both Waltz and Adams for their portrayals, their regard for each other is masterfully handled under the direction of Tim Burton. It's kind of ironic that Burton directs this kind of caricature about a phony artist when a lot of the work that has gained him prominence are of caricatures themselves. And to top it all off, the icing on the cake was when Walter's landscapes are revealed to be mass produced paintings that he purchased in bulk for resale - what a con man! This one ended the only way it could have to satisfy this viewer; the whole time Walter regaled the courtroom with his flowery antics, I thought the best way the judge could have handled things was to put it all on the line by saying - 'Paint me a picture'.
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8/10
Tim Burton's Best Work In A Long Time
gavin69422 February 2015
A drama about the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband (Christoph Waltz), who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

It is no secret that Tim Burton has had a rough decade. Although films like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" may have been commercial successes, they were largely looked down on by critics. What was the last great Burton film? Perhaps "Sweeney Todd".

Here, he goes outside of what anyone expected. Nothing weird, nothing involving his regular cast or crew. No Johnny Depp, or Gothic themes, or odd inventions. This is as close to a regular, dramatic biopic as one can get. And it works very, very well, making the audience care about an artist they may not have even been aware of.

One concern is the casting of Waltz. While he does the job very well, and makes the film's comedy really come to the forefront, there is just no getting around his accent. Walter Keane was not German. Faulting Waltz for his voice may be unfair, but it still stands out as a strange inconsistency with the rest of the story.
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8/10
How manipulative can a person be?
lee_eisenberg28 June 2015
I had never heard of Margaret Keane or her paintings before "Big Eyes" got released, making the story all the more forceful. My interpretation of Keane's story is that she was afraid to stand up for herself. Walter manipulated her into accepting his shenanigans.

Amy Adams puts on a really good performance as Margaret. Much like her roles in "Junebug", "Enchanted" and "Doubt", her character's idealism collapses when faced with reality. Christoph Waltz turns Walter into a mixture of smooth and terrifying, but a real creep more than anything.

This is a very different turn for Tim Burton. Far from his homages to horror flicks and swipes at suburban America, he takes a serious approach to the subject matter. I recommend the movie. Whether you know of the story or not, you're sure to be impressed with the movie. Margaret's paintings might not appeal to you - they don't appeal to me - it's important to know what she went through, and the movie does a good job looking at that.
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6/10
Big Eyes
jboothmillard19 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Director Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) has done a movie based on a true story once before, that was the fantastic Ed Wood, so I was interested to see another one. Basically in 1958, Margaret Ulbrich (Golden Globe winning, and BAFTA nominated Amy Adams) is supporting her daughter Jane (Delaney Raye) alone in North Beach, San Francisco, after leaving her husband, she gets a job at a factory, painting illustrations onto furniture. At an outdoor art show, while painting portraits, Margaret meets Walter Keane (Golden Globe nominated Christoph Waltz), who is selling his Parisian street scene painting, Walter later proposes to her and they marry. Walter goes to a popular jazz club and convinces the owner, Enrico Banducci (Jon Polito), to let him rent a wall to display the couple's paintings on. A drunk woman is touched by one of Margaret's paintings and buys it, Walter has a fight with Banducci and ends up on the front page of the local newspaper, the club is next packed with curious people. Celebrity gossip columnist Dick Nolan (Danny Huston, also the narrator) wants to know about Walter's art, but is only interested in Margaret's paintings, especially those of subjects with big eyes. Walter shows Margaret all the money they have made from sales, he tells her they make a great team, saying she can stay home painting and he will sell her works. Walter opens his own Keane gallery, promoting the art as his own, selling reproductions, but Margaret is upset he is taking credit for her art, and feels guilty lying to Jane about it. Margaret decides to paint in a different style with elongated features and small eyes, so that she can honestly tell people she is also a painter. Margaret and Walter move into a new mansion together, while going through a crate containing stacks of Parisian street scenes, but she they are signed by another name, she realises Walter paints over the original artist's names and claims them as his own. Margaret confronts Walter about her discovery, he tells her he always wanted to be an artist, but never had the talent. Walter learns of the New York World's Fair and demands Margaret paint something to put on display, when she refuses he threatens to kill her. Older Jane (Madeleine Arthur) discovers her mother working on the large artwork, she tells her mother that she always knew she was the true artist. At a party, Walter is angered after reading the scathing review of the exhibit by John Canaday (Terence Stamp), back at home he drunkenly throws lit matches at Margaret and Jane, they manage to get out after he almost sets the house on fire, they run away. A year later, Margaret and Jane have settled in Honolulu, Hawaii, but Walter tracks her down, he refuses to agree a divorce unless she signs over the rights to every painting and produces 100 more. Margaret agrees and continues sending paintings to California, but then following a visit from two Jehovah's Witnesses, she is convinced that honesty is important, so the next delivery, Walter receives paintings signed "MDH Keane". On a Hawaiian radio show, Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the big eyes paintings attributed to Walter, this makes national news, Nolan writes an article claiming she has "gone nuts". Margaret sues both Walter and the newspapers that printed his version of the story for libel and slander, the case is taken to a courthouse in Honolulu, with reporters swarming. The Judge (James Saito) immediately dismisses the libel lawsuit against the newspapers, but Walter is left to defend himself against slander, even cross-examining himself as a "witness". As Walter is wasting so much time with his tall tales, the judge decides there is only one way to determine who is the true artist of the big eyes works, both Margaret and Walter are given one hour to paint an artwork. Margaret paints steadily, but Walter is hesitant, claiming that an arm injury has made it hard for him to hold a brush, Margaret completes her painting in 53 minutes and wins the lawsuit, outside she tells the press she doesn't care about the money, she just wants credit for her paintings, she is happy finally signing an autograph for her own work. The end credits claim that Walter continued with his claim that he was the true artist, but never painted again, and died bitter and penniless, while Margaret later retired and opened an Art Gallery. Also starring Breaking Bad's Krysten Ritter as Dee-Ann, Jason Schwartzman as Ruben and the real Margaret Keane as Old Lady at Park. Adams gives a great delicate performance as the manipulated but eventually justified painter, Waltz is wonderfully exuberant as the conman husband, Burton directs this with a real flair, and you can recognise his style with the use of bright colours and a cartoonish look, it is a very interesting fact-based story of plagiarism, fraud and female subjugation, you don't have to necessarily be an art lover to appreciate it, a fascinating and worthwhile biographical drama. It was nominated the BAFTA for Best Production Design, and it was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for the title song by Lana Del Rey. Good!
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6/10
Small Issue Over Palpebral Tissue.
rmax30482321 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
As Walter Keane forty years ago, Christopher Waitz is accused of pandering to the lowest common denominator in the art world. He throws up his hands and screams, "What is WRONG with the lowest common denominator?" In today's Zeitgeist? We need a sensible answer more than ever.

I can accept "Big Eyes" on the molar level but not the molecular. That is, I can believe that Walter Keane, a born showman, began exhibiting his wife Margaret's successful Big Eye paintings as his own. There were arguments. They divorced. Margaret revealed that she was the artist behind the work and won a suit against him. Walter died "bitter and penniless" and Margaret "continues to paint to this day," as the epilogue tells us.

I don't accept the molecular structure. I don't think Margaret was really imprisoned in a smoky attic to grind out her many paintings. I don't believe Walter threatened to have her bumped off if she squealed. I don't believe that Walter, drunk and enraged, followed them through the house, flipping lighted matches at Margaret and her daughter out of jealousy while they shuddered in fear. That's a little generic, isn't it? "The drunken wife abuser?" I could believe it if the film showed us a conspiracy between Walter and Margaret, cackling as they collected their massive amounts of dough and bought the mansion in the suburbs, away from North Beach. Then I could believe bitter arguments followed over not just credit but pelf.

North Beach, 1957. That was some place. I was there at the time and it was thrilling, what with the emergence of the Beatniks, Bufano's penguins and all that. I patronized many of the places mentioned and I can recommend Vanessi's Restaurant as still a superb dining experience. I remember too the commotion over Walter Keane's fight with Enrico Banducci, proprietor of the Hungry i, where I saw The Gateway Singers render a song in Yiddish.

I remember too the sudden avalanche of Big Eye paintings. They were all over the place. You couldn't escape them. I was at the time a humble enlisted man at a Coast Guard radio station in San Bruno. My mates were a proletarian bunch with a sprinkling of geniuses. When the Keane painting began appearing, we all laughed at them because even in our lowbrow circles we could tell they STANK. Rough-hewn young men who had never gotten through high school (and never deserved to) found them to be a joke.

They're still a joke, as this movie is a joke on everyone who took these works at all seriously. They've been endlessly parodied since. And it's amusing for Tim Burton to play visiting art aficionados as pansies gasping at the intensity of a painting of some kid in a tattered dress with eyes like dinner plates, a tear coursing through the dust of one cheek.

The movie is based on an interesting premise: who gets credit for expensive kitsch? But it devolves quickly into a soap opera of an abused woman fighting for empowerment. The movie goes out of its way to link this tabloid story to the oppression of women everywhere in 1960. "Does your husband allow you to work?", asks an employer. "Let your husband make the decisions," advises a priest. We're no longer in 1957 -- especially not 1957 San Francisco -- but back in 957 AD. What's a millennium here and there? There's been criticism of the performances but I don't know why. Amy Adams does just fine as the oppressed, whimpering wife, all clammed up, as the script requires, and there is a long withheld smile of satisfaction and revenge as she humiliates her ex husband in court. One reviewer claimed she wore too much makeup. Well, yes, for our tastes now.

The movie wouldn't be what it is without the performance of Christopher Waitz. He's amazing -- outrageously over the top. He cackles, he waves his arms expansively, he shouts instead of speaking, he tells wild stories, and his German accent lends a surreal quality to every line, whether angry or palliative.

The photography shows us a city and its innards in lurid colors, as in a cartoon or a Twentieth-Century Fox musical, saturated and blinding, and it suits the story like a substrate suits its enzyme.
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3/10
Misbegotten venture with no known target audience...
moonspinner5527 August 2016
A portrait of the real-life Keanes, San Francisco married couple of the late 1950s and '60s: Walter is a braggart and storyteller (i.e., a good liar) who is masterful at promoting his wife Margaret's paintings of saucer-eyed waifs--but when it comes down to turning the spotlight on the actual artist, he seizes an early opportunity to take credit for the work himself, even though he has absolutely no artistic talent. A study of ego, delusion and, that old standby, how success destroys a marriage, each theme taking precedence over the process of artistic creation. Tim Burton directed, and was obviously more interested in Walter's preening self-importance and Hollywood hobnobbing than in Margaret's inspirations (she churns out paintings--off-camera--at a rapid pace). Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams are unconvincing as the Keanes, neither able to overcome Burton's uncomfortable imbalance of moods gleaned from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski's curiously thin screenplay. As a movie about art, "Big Eyes" is surely a failure, with a timeline presented to us in shorthand. Viewers attracted by the picture's nostalgic trimmings--as a jaunt back in time to a simpler era--might enjoy it, even though the family dynamics are a mess and Waltz's larger-than-life portrayal gets more annoying as the film progresses. *1/2 from ****
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It was hard for female artists in the 1950s.
TxMike5 January 2019
I watched this at home on DVD from my public library.

This is the story of real painter Margaret Keane played by one of my personal favorites, Amy Adams. Margaret and her daughter had left a bad marriage and moved to San Francisco where she was attempting to sell her unique style, painting mostly children with big eyes. There she met Christoph Waltz as Walter Keane who billed himself as a Paris trained painter but had a tough time selling his street scenes. As it turns out just about everything about him was fraudulent.

The upshot of the story is they got married rather quickly and Walter exploited her after someone innocently mistook him as the artist of her paintings. As time went on he took more and more credit while he had her secretly paint more and more big eyes renditions. They became wealthy but Walter became more and more crazy.

In the end Margaret finally was able to get the truth out and, since it was her word against his, the whole thing was settled in a paint-off to show that she was really the one who did all the paintings.

A really interesting story and a well-made movie about it.
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8/10
not a great film, but a very good one, Burton's most substantial in a while
Quinoa19843 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Tim Burton. That name brings out praise and backlash, the latter in the past several years as the director has done a series of films in the realm of remakes/revisionings/re-whatever (Alice in Wonderland, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dark Shadows), and while those films aren't all worthless - they vary in quality from being total crap to being OK - and he's made some great work in the middle (his last "Big" movie, Big Fish, and Frankenweenie and Sweeney Todd are the outliers), he seems to have lost that 'something'. He somehow finds a way to be wonderful again as a filmmaker with the story of Margaret Keane, and her unfortunate marriage to Walter Keane - who claimed for many years (and she played into) that he created all of her wide-eyed paintings of children for mass consumption - and how she got out of it.

Perhaps one of the things people may notice is that it doesn't feel totally like a Burton movie. It doesn't have, with the exception of maybe or two moments where Margaret gets a little nutty (seeing people with the big-eyes out and about), those Burton oddball hallmarks usually associated with him. And yet, for as "normal" a biopic-drama about how and most certainly why a woman gets put down in a patriarchal society - it has an awesome feminist streak of revolt in its soul - it's a very colorful movie. Burton must have been very attentive with his cinematographer and designers, and every color POPS in the movie, even when things get dark in the marriage of the Keanes, and that was something I could sense him working out. It's closer probably to the palette of Big Fish, only still with its feet in the real world, much as it can be in Burton's world.

There is a lot of humor here too, some of it from supporting characters like Jason Schwartzman's snotty art dealer, and Terence Stamp as an even snootier art critic. Deadpan delivery, especially in the face of Christoph Waltz it would seem, is the best way to go. And speaking of Waltz, he is of course amazing here, full of brio and gusto and when he has to be kind of sweetly subtle... though if there is a criticism for me it's when he has to go really bad/over-the-top, and maybe this is based on what happened with them and Margaret's daughter, but when he gets into 'bad husband' mode - the scene with the matches I'm thinking of - it's all just too much for this movie, and Waltz maybe takes his dastardly characterization too far. That may be the point, but it didn't work for me, though only in that instance.

Amy Adams is a delight, there's hardly a way to put another word around it, but really digs in to the despair that Margaret feels as she doesn't stop herself from perpetuating the falsity of her paintings' origins. A lot of the movie is about perception and lies and deceit, but also the fun in unmasking it (the final courtroom scenes), and as much as this is a serious film, Adams is having fun making a fully rounded character, and opposite Waltz she has to be at the top of her game. Something about women in Burton films is always fascinating to me, how he shows them all as fully-rounded, wounded, alive, smart, on-their-toes and unpredictable creatures (Catwoman, Carter in Sweeney Todd, Eva Green to an extent in Dark Shadows, supporting players in Big Fish, more I can't remember now), and Margaret Keane is another.

It's a rousing, crowd-pleasing drama that is like an in-spirit follow up to Ed Wood (also from the same writers): once again about someone who doesn't really have 'talent' in that usual sense of the word - people who bought Keane's paintings probably took them as seriously as people who went to see Wood's movies - but there was a person there, and world that made it all happen, and it was one that people take for granted (the world of commercialized art and the world of low-grade movies). If it's not the giant that Burton's Ed Wood is, it does what it sets out to well enough to be Burton's most substantial work, certainly on a dramatic level, in over ten years. Hope he keeps it up is all.
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8/10
Big Eyes was a compelling film about the career of Margaret Keane and her hubby Walter's initial grabbing credit for her work
tavm31 August 2015
Just watched this with Mom on a Netflix disc. We both were enthralled by this true story of painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) whose defining feature is the big eyes of her subjects and hubby Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) who publicly takes credit for her work for years. It takes place from the late '50s through the '60s and partly seems a comment on how stifled Mrs. Keane felt not being the one getting recognition for her work and the crises that created between her and her husband, not to mention her daughter who was often the subject for the paintings. Tim Burton seems the right director for this film especially when he has Margaret dreaming or during the climatic courtroom scenes. The light and dark colors also contribute to the period atmosphere to pretty compelling effect. While I liked many of the supporting characters, I had to admit I was a bit disappointed by the one portrayed by Krysten Ritter as I half thought she'd play more in the way things turned out in the film than she did. Still, Big Eyes was mostly enjoyable enough the way it was told. P.S. I had also watched a vintage interview with the real Walter Keane on Merv Griffin on YouTube in which he seemed to flirt with a female guest there. (The cad!) Then I saw a couple of interviews on YT with the real Margaret Keane on Mike Douglas' shows-one in Hawaii and one with Shirley Temple whose child portrait Ms. Keane painted for her-and her Southern charm shone through immensely!
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10/10
****
edwagreen26 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Apparently, abuse extends itself into the art world as depicted in this 2014 film.

On the rebound, Amy Adams quickly marries supposed artist Christoph Waltz and by a quirk of fate, her drawings depicting big eyes become famous. The big problem here is that her Waltz takes credit for the drawings.

As the years go on, Waltz, in a terrific performance, becomes increasingly abusive eventually forcing Amy to leave him and then she spills the beans and brings a lawsuit against him.

Adams is wonderful as the vulnerable artist, but it is really Waltz, without his German accent, who really attacks the part as a crackpot-wise on sales techniques, but that is about it.
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A compelling account of a woman forced into lies and deceit
Gordon-1127 January 2015
This film tells the story of a female artist who finds popularity and recognition because of her remarkable paintings of children with big eyes. However, her husband steals the credit, and she is forced into a life of oppression, lies and deceit.

"Big Eyes" is quite unlike the usual Tim Burton film, as there is no wild imagination, lavish sets or dark elements. It's refreshing to see him telling a captivating and compelling account of a hijacked life. The story is very engaging because I'm so angry at the husband for stealing Margaret's credit. I don't quite understand how a person can lie repeatedly without any conscience. I'm so glad Margaret ultimately decided to stand up for herself, especially given the fact that women's rights were not as established in those days. She had so much courage to stand up for herself. "Big Eyes" is such an inspirational biographical account. I'm moved, and particularly by the photo of Margaret and any Adams at the very end.
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9/10
A Social Commentary On Sexual Politics And Art World Deception
sunwarrior138 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Director Tim Burton makes a biographical film about Margaret Keane,a painter who is known for her portraits of people with big eyes,whose husband got to claim credit for all her works during the 1950's and 1960's.It stars Amy Adams as Margaret together with Chris Waltz as the Walter,the credit-grabbing husband.The story follows the couple when they first meet,their marriage,the success they achieved with their paintings,their divorce and a lawsuit that finally revealed Margaret as the real painter behind all the works at the conclusion of the film.

Burton managed to create a great film.It starts with the great performance of the lead stars - Adams and Waltz- who has shown great chemistry as the Keane couple.Also,it touched on the themes on feminism and sexual politics during the 1950's and 1960's when women considered not at par with men as well as the character transformation of Margaret from being submissive wife into becoming an aggressive woman who started to learn how to fight.Added to that,we also got to see the world of deception in the world of arts which has been happening for many years now.Overall,Big Eyes delivers due to great performances of the talent involved and being a social commentary.
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8/10
Film making could be the windows of the soul...
hitchcockthelegend8 January 2016
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
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9/10
Primitive Art, Primitive Artists, and Exploited Women Emerge
LeonLouisRicci12 June 2015
Some have Called this Biopic of Popular Artist Margaret Keane Shallow and Superficial, adjectives sometimes Associated with Her Art. If the Film has a Fault it is the Less than In Depth Delvings Into an Important Subject.

Art's Influence on People and Culture, and Art Critics Influence on the Masses and the Art World specifically.

The Film Begins with a Quote from Andy Warhol..."It can't be bad Art if so many People like it."

That is, perhaps the Best Argument for Art in one of its most Basic Tenets, to give People Joy, to Uplift the Spirit, and bring Enjoyment to Life.

What Critics Think is Ultimately Unimportant to the Masses. This should be Obvious with Mega Successes like Fast Food. Imagine a High-Brow, New York Times Food Critic appearing at Mickey D's and then Writing a Scathing Review. The Popularity, and Mass Consumption of the Product Would Not Suffer even a Blip on the Sales Meter.

Tim Burton is on Familiar Ground here. He is a Pop Cultural Artist that has "Been There and Done That" with His Work over the Years. He is also Appreciative and Collects the works of Margaret Keane.

What Burton Delivers to the Masses is one of His most Accessible Films to Date. There is Little Burtonesque Standoffish Grotesque Imagery. Here the Art Speaks for Itself and is Not in Need of the Director's Embellishment.

The Story is also one of the 1950's Women's Plight in Society. It is a Man's World and Margaret (Amy Adams) is Not very Independent and is Shy, easily Dominated, and Submissive.

She is Exploited Artistically and Domestically by Her Domineering Husband (Christoph Waltz) that keeps Her Under Lock and Key and takes Credit for and Promotes the Sale of Her Work. Margaret Half-Heartedly Goes Along Until She Doesn't.

The Ending Court Battle and the True Artist Emerging from Her "Prison" is Inspirational and Rewarding both Culturally and as Burton would have it for Primitive Art and Primitive Artists.
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7/10
Paint It Black
writers_reign1 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I seldom pay good money to watch a film with the name Burton on the technical credits - as opposed, of course, to the name Burton, Richard, on the acting credits - as I am of the opinion that Burton make fairly decent suits but mediocre Gothic-type movies. I do, however, pay good money to see the majority of films with the name Amy Adams on the above-the-line credits which was how I found my way to Big Eyes and I have to say that try as he might and do his damnedest as he did Tim Burton was unable to ruin either the film or the two leading performances. Of Margaret Keane I knew nothing this time yesterday and even at this time today I know only what the film chose to tell me. It could be argued - but you'd need to be a fully paid-up member of the Academic-Pseud axis to do so - that the film is a metaphor and is really about an amalgamation of those women who have recently featured in news stories around the world and who have been more or less kidnapped by dysfunctional men and held prisoner for, in some cases, several years and all of whom are as real and non-fictional as Margaret Keane who was just as captive and powerless although in plain sight albeit 'unseen' by the public who flocked to view and purchase work she had produced yet against her will had allowed her husband to claim as his own. Both Amy Adams and Christopher Waltz totally inhabit their respective roles as talented artist and untalented control freak respectively and the film should be seen for these remarkable performances.
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7/10
Burton's odd-ball account of the Keane's is a hit-and-miss effort at best
george.schmidt28 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
BIG EYES (2014) **Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston, Terence Stamp, Jon Polito, Delaney Raye, Madeleine Arthur. Odd true-life account of artists Walter and Margaret Keane whose 'big eyes' portraits of waifs became a pop culture sensation in fact is a total fraud as the real works were done solely by Margaret (Adams giving quiet dignity to a beaten down woman) shrouded in secrecy by the charming yet odious Walter (Waltz over-the-top and not in a good way) until the lie could no longer mask the truth. Bizarre to say the least is the way the film comes across as an alleged 'comedy' (there's very little frivolity or even as a dark comedy falls flat) with the likes of master filmmaker Tim Burton reunited with his screen writing team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (ED WOOD) that makes its protagonists into one-note cartoons (Margaret a sad, put-upon tragedy mask and Walter a melodramatic hambone hack with nothing but dollar signs in his eyes). Well-stocked with vintage character actors giving very little to do (i.e. Schwartzman's scold of a gallery owner and Ritter as a boho Betty gal pal of Margaret) only mars what-could-have-been fun and frenzy.
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8/10
Interesting, but strange
neil-4761 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Margaret leaves her husband and moves to San Francisco with her daughter, where she meets and marries artist Walter Keane. When Margaret's stylised paintings of (mostly) children with enormous eyes start to find a market (unlike Walter's Parisian street scenes), Walter markets them under his own name on the grounds that no-one is interested in paintings by women. Margaret finally leaves the controlling Walter, but ends up fighting him in court to establish the true artistic authorship of the Big Eyes/Waif paintings.

Tim Burton directs Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in this dramatization of a true story. It is a period piece, set mostly in late 50s/early 60s San Francisco, and is rather odd in terms of mood. Waltz plays Keane in a kind of constant manic good humour, in a slightly over the top comedic way. Adams, on the other hand, downplays the put-upon Margaret. The contrast between Keane who, despite the fact that we can always see him as a conman, is likeable and engaging, and his relationship with Margaret, which is essentially abusive, makes the film feel somewhat uneasy. I was very unsure about how I felt about the film at the end.

The period feel is captured well and, as one would expect with Burton, it is bright, colourful and eyecatching. I was delighted to recognise the location where I watched a street scene being filmed, even though that scene wasn't in the film.
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6/10
Eye Did It
ferguson-623 December 2014
Greetings again from the darkness. Based on the true events of artist Margaret Keane and her husband Walter, the latest from director Tim Burton is the closest thing to reality he has produced since his only other biopic, Ed Wood (1994). But fear not, ye fans of the Burton universe, his style and flair remains ever-present with a stunning color palette on this trek through the 1950's and 60's.

If you have never heard the story, Margaret Keane is an artist with a unique style that features exaggerated eyes of her subjects, hence the movie title. When she first met Walter, she fell hard for his charm and his exuberance and professed love of her work. What happened next seems impossible to imagine these days, but this was the 1950's. Walter began to market and sell her paintings as his own … in fact, the real marketing was himself as an artist. The empire of Keane paintings, postcards, posters, etc literally exploded forcing Margaret to paint in silence and solitude while her husband inexplicably took public credit, sighting his defense as no one will buy "lady art".

That may sound like the description of an "issues" film – one that digs into the male dominance of the pre-women's movement era, or possibly even a look at artistic integrity or the battle of popular kitsch versus critical acclaim. Instead, this is more of a relationship film and a character study. We witness how Walter (Christoph Waltz) lures Margaret (Amy Adams) into this trap and truly undervalues her as an artist or a person. She is merely a means to his financial and public success. Margaret feels trapped right up to the point where she doesn't.

There could have been real fun in the exploration of Dick Nolan (played by Danny Huston) from the "San Francisco Examiner" in his role as cheesy journalist contrasted against the socially revered serious art critic John Camady (played by Terence Stamp). Instead, both the relationship aspects of the Keanes and the tabloid battles of the critics come off as a bit lightweight, though right in line with Mr. Waltz' incessant smirk through most of his lines. Fortunately, the film is filled with subtext … each scene carrying the weight of multiple issues.

Many will enjoy the deliciously evil approach Waltz takes for the role, but I mostly felt sad that a woman as apparently smart as Margaret would fall for this obvious shyster and his over the top self-promotion. Still, her battle for independence and ownership is quite interesting given the times and the hole that was dug. Adams is terrific in the role, and she is one of many actresses who bring their own "big eyes" to the picture (Krysten Ritter and Madeleine Arthur are others).

The film never attempts to answer any social issues or even take on the question of "what is art?". The lack of a stance doesn't change the fact that it's beautiful to look at, and brings to light an incredible true story. The set design and costumes are wonderful, and composer Danny Elfman delivers a complimentary score. For those wondering, neither Johnny Depp nor Helena Bonham Carter (both Burton staples) appears in the film. However, the real Margaret Keane is shown sitting on a park bench while Ms. Adams paints in one scene. So if you are after a good-looking film that doesn't (on the surface seem to) ruffle many feathers, the battle of the Keanes is one that should satisfy. If you are willing to dig a little deeper, there is much to discuss afterwards.
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9/10
Delightful insightful great performance by Christoph Waltz
phd_travel29 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is an absolutely delightful true story of an artist. Amy Adams deservedly won a Golden Globe for playing Margaret Keane. Her performance is more on the dramatic side of comedy. Christoph Waltz deserves an award just as much because he gives such a wonderfully exuberant yet totally suitable performance as her husband Walter who claimed his wife's work as his own. The court room scene is quite priceless.

Quite insightful when showing how Walter handled the marketing and promotion of the art and how he achieved commercial success.

Prettily filmed in San Francisco and Hawaii, the art direction is beautifully done. Tim Burton keeps the pace fast and shows he is just as good directing movies without fancy costumes and effects. Even if you don't consider the paintings as real art it's lovingly shown on film.

Worth watching.
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7/10
Weak story, good cast
zetes4 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The true story of fraudulent artist Walter Keane, whose wife Margaret painted kitschy "big eyed" children. Walter took the credit for them, and she stayed silent, well, until they had a falling out and she didn't. This is about what I expected. The story really didn't intrigue me much at all, but the cast is fantastic. There aren't many actors who can get me out to the theater, but Amy Adams is certainly one of them. I don't quite have that level of adoration for Christoph Waltz, but his presence in a movie certainly interests me. Add to that Krysten Ritter of the brilliant television show Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 and the ever lovable Jason Schwartzman (as well as Walter Huston, Jon Polito and Terence Stamp), and I'm there. Adams is really what makes the film watchable - she's excellent, as always. I've heard a lot of bad things about Waltz's supposedly over-the-top performance, but I was mostly amused by him here. It's certainly not on the level of his two Oscar winning performances, but he's fun. There is one grave miscalculation, though, on Burton's casting of him: the movie takes place in the late '50s through the '60s - a man his age with a clearly Germanic accent (the real Walter Keane was born in Nebraska), especially one who often refers to his time during the War, well, that's got to raise some troubling questions. I kind of expected Adams to find Waltz putting flesh-colored makeup over the swastika carved into his forehead at some point during the movie. Ritter has a couple of good scenes, as does Schwartzman.
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8/10
Nice story about the impostor Keane
deloudelouvain17 June 2015
When it's a biography I am always more interested because of the fact that there is non fiction involved. And the story of Margaret Keane and her husband the plagiarist Walter Keane is certainly worth making a movie out of it. It's not the typical movie Tim Burton normally makes but I certainly did enjoy it a lot. The sympathy you have for Walter Keane (played brilliantly by Christoph Waltz) quickly turns into deep hate for his person. Well done with the acting. Margaret Keane (played by Amy Adams) is an abused woman you feel sorry for all the time. You wish she would stand up against all the injustice and when she finally does you really hope she will win. If you like true stories with a bit of drama then you will enjoy this movie. Well, I for sure did.
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