Big Eyes Review

6 Jan


Big Eyes is a Tim Burton movie on depressants. It’s also a pretty good movie, one not without its flaws, but one that delivers solid performances and an entertaining and compelling story. Burton and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel craft a world permeated by bright, vivid colors, an environment that will eventually stand in contrast to the darkness revealed through the Keane relationship, but also one that allows for a particular type of visual flair.

It’s still a pretty toned down movie for Burton, though, and it’s a fairly surface level story with a few oddities thrown in. It raises questions about art criticism, the value of emotional connection vs. abstraction, the press, and integrity, and its exploration of social constraints is inherent in Margaret Keane’s story. It doesn’t go searching for some grand overarching theme, though, and I must say: that’s a breath of fresh air during an awards-driven several few months. It’s a fun and simple movie throughout.

The heart of it all lies, of course, in the character of Margaret Keane. Amy Adams is her usual excellent self, her quiet frustration and vulnerability giving way to determination and strength. Waltz’s Walter Keane begins as a charming street view painter who becomes embroiled in a lie, and the tension in the relationship builds up until Keane is ranting and raving and being a huge dick. It’s an over the top performance, but it’s not bad, and Waltz wholly embraces the nature of the character (especially in a ridiculous courtroom scene near the end of the movie).

The most important thing, however, is that it’s an enjoyable ride. It’s prone to jarring tonal shifts and to stumbles in cohesiveness and pacing, but it’s a well made movie that will probably continue to fly under the radar.



-Aside from Adams and Waltz, we have a pretty great cast here. Jason Schwartzman has a nice role as a rival art gallery owner, and his character probably has the funniest line of the movie. Krysten Ritter is always a pleasure, and she plays Margaret’s friend, DeAnn. Terence Stamp shows up as John Canaday, a New York Times critic, and Danny Huston is a gossip columnist/narrator.


-The sudden appearance of Walter’s daughter serves to emphasize just how much of an afterthought she is to him. It also puts into perspective where exactly he stands with Margaret and Jane.

-The “almost burning down the house” scene is pretty intense, and it’s followed up by a pretty similar image to the first one in the movie: Margaret and Jane finding comfort with each other in the car. Mother-daughter relationships seem to be a major focus throughout.

-The courtroom scene is certainly ridiculous, especially given it was a real life court case. It’s really entertaining watching Walter question himself and go all “TV” in court, though.

Photo credit: Big Eyes, The Weinstein Company


5 Responses to “Big Eyes Review”

  1. MovieManJackson January 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

    Loved this a TON. If I am comparing it to what I have seen in the last few weeks, the awards “aspirers” if you will, I enjoyed this the most and it seemed less focus on gaining accolades, but rather just telling a story of a person I knew little about before. Great review.

  2. disappearingwoman January 7, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    I really want to see this film. Thank you for a review with few spoilers!

  3. Writer Loves Movies January 12, 2015 at 6:45 am #

    Great review. I really enjoyed this one. The performances are very good and I especially enjoyed how the film opened up at the end and embraced a more comedic tone (that court scene was a real highlight).

  4. #peggyatthemovies January 15, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    I love your opening line as it truly sums it up almost in one sentence.. 🙂

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