Big Eyes: Film Review – An artfully done true story

Tim Burton has given us some exceptional movies. Movies about the human spirit, curiosity, love, humor, dark humor and the human condition. With Big Eyes, we get another tale from Burton. A biographical story about an artist and her art. Starring Amy Adams as Margaret Keane and Christoph Waltz as her husband, Walter Keane; the film takes us on a ride through the art scene of San Francisco in the ’50s and ’60s. Big Eyes is different from most of Burton’s fare, because of the roots of the story. And he stays true to the material. Thereby, you are left watching an honest portrayal of an artist and her struggles. 

Big Eyes traces the rise of the phenomenon of Keane. You are shown a post-WW II era Americana world, where a single mother has to struggle to make ends meet. At that time, Margaret Keane is an undiscovered artist. Lo and behold, she meets a charming man whose quicksilver tongue makes her life easy. Walter Keane decides that they can sell her art under his name and Keane was born. The runaway success of her art makes him an international artist and she lives in that shadow. Things come to a head when she decides to take a stand and take back what rightfully belongs to her. This leads to an amazing showdown between the artists. The exceptional part of this story is the fact that it isn’t a fabrication. 
 
 
The movie is a breath of fresh air. It takes a true story and doesn’t preach. Tim Burton delivers us this unique story without of any Burton-esque traits. He keeps us centered on the story of this single mother and artist. You will feel for Amy Adams as Margaret Keane and enjoy watching Christoph Waltz play this snake-charmer. The chemistry between the two of them works wonders. And all the while, the paintings give us an insight into an innocent and naïve mind. Big Eyes doesn’t preach about art, it reveals art. With Big Eyes, you get the feeling that art does belong to everyone, but credit should be given to the creator. As the story progresses, you see how the lie starts to eat away at the soul of Margaret Keane. It makes for a good watch. Kristen Ritter and Danny Houston form part of the cast, but their roles are on the fringe. Jason Schwartzman is sublime as an art curator. And the surprise to enjoy is Terrence Stamp’s wonderful turn. He brings intensity back to the screen. Christoph Waltz is, once again, marvellous as Walter. With every smile and sales pitch, you get to see him relish his part. Amy Adams is quite charming and a wonder to watch on the screen. Big Eyes makes a true story fun. 
 
Why should you watch this film? 
Big Eyes gets you right in the soul. It is a remarkable story that shocked the whole world, and not just the world of art. You are shown a world before instant fame. It talks about the price of being famous. In the end, it shows us that good art is honest and true to the soul of the artist. Tim Burton makes us believe in the Big Eyes.

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