big-eyes03-big-eyes-movie-review

Can a film be sappy, simple, and still be worthy of a serious moviegoer?  You’ll get your answer as you sit through this truly delightful film that speaks to much more than its simple story.  Its story is simple, yet fascinating.  Margaret Keane, a single mother, is all too happy to marry a successful businessman, as no one in the 1960’s will even consider buying art from a female artist.  New husband, Walter, begins to pass her paintings off as his own to the public.  Although Margaret is vehemently against it, Walter Keane becomes a household name and the couple amass a hugely successful empire, to Margaret’s depressing chagrin.  Margaret continues to paint for Walter for years, while he grows controlling and abusive.  When her unhappiness becomes unbearable, Margaret asks for a divorce, which forces Walter to begin blackmailing her that he will not grant her a divorce unless paints 100 more paintings.  She then publically announces to the world that that she is the true artist.  Walter publically calls her a liar and Margaret sues him for slander and the rights to her artistic name.  The film speaks to the concept of making a mistake when we’re young and vulnerable, trusting the wrong person, and rising from our misery to claim what is rightfully ours.  The feminist ideals of the film are also in abundance.  Margaret goes against the 1960’s grain as she takes her daughter and leaves her husband.  She leaves behind the fabulous, rich, and secure lifestyle – all for her dignity’s sake.  Margaret goes against the 1960’s grain and simply believes that things will be alright, even without a husband.

 

The film is directed by Tim Burton.  Although famous for film that are delightfully odd spectacles, Burton effortlessly adapts his kooky-ness to this simple drama, but on a subtler scale, with his trademark bold usage of gripping color ever-present.

 

Our two leads, Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, take turns outshining the other.  Amy Adams has distinguished herself in a class with Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet, transforming herself into an entirely different person, far from the quirky, bubbly characters we’ve seen in her early work (her performances in The Fighter and The Dallas Buyers Club are other examples of Adams’ fine skill in this regard.)  How Waltz was not nominated for best actor in this film is something only God knows.  Waltz, a two-time Oscar winner for supporting roles in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, is simply sensational.  One can’t imagine the role being played by someone else (although, one doesn’t quite know what to think about the actor’s Austrian accent in a character whom they constantly mention to be an American, but we can forgive that).

 

The film may be a bit to saccharine to be considered for Best Picture, but what it lacks in drama and maturity is replaced in abundance with its charm and compelling performances.  Big Eyes has a warmth that will soften the hearts of all ages.

Written by Alt360º Blogger: David Fair

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