Big Eyes – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

March 20, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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It’s a really big lie that is the heart of this latest outing from veteran director Tim Burton.

A straightforward tale with very few typical Burton flourishes – which suits the narrative –it captures the mores of an era.

Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) created popular portraits of  waif like children with enormous eyes. However it was her husband who took  artistic credit.

hen Margaret does a runner in 1958 from her first marriage, she takes daughter and muse Jane (Delaney Raye and Madeleine Arthur) to San Francisco. She has a hard time finding a job to support them and is reduced to decorating cribs in a baby furniture factory but keeps on producing her portraits.

On weekends she displays her work in the park amongst other artists and it is here she meets Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) who is there to flog his Parisian street scenes.

The two marry after a whirlwind romance. Margaret keeps on painting her waifs and Walter attempts to sell both their artworks.  Eventually he sells one of the children.  It seemed politic at the time for him to claim artistic credit and he later tells his wife that nobody wants to buy “lady art”.

Walter, an extrovert with the gift of the gab, turns out to be a marketing and promotional genius as the paintings become hugely popular, the money rolls in and he becomes a celebrity.

John Canaday (Terence Stamp) plays art critic who publicly loathes the paintings but that doesn’t stop them selling.

Margaret goes on living in the background for a decade while madly churning out portraits.  At home as she is forced to hide the truth from her daughter, losing confidence and her sense of self.

Adams has the ability to inhabit whatever part she plays and convinces as the shy and unassuming artist who prefers creating to socialising – until she finally acknowledges she is in thrall to a manipulative husband.

Waltz has a penchant for playing charming but difficult men (Water for Elephants) and he somewhat overplays scenes towards the end as he becomes increasingly manic.

The artist herself appears in the credits alongside Adams and has a brief appearance in the early park scene, so the film must have her blessing.

106 mins l Rated M Released nationally March 19.

Starring Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman

Directed by Tim Burton

Music by Danny Elfman

3.5/5

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