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[tab title="Movie Review"]

Big Eyes - Movie Review


4 stars

Director Tim Burton returns to the landscape of the unconventional biopic and combines the strength of Ed Wood with the emotion of Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands and introduces us to the storytelling world of Walter and Margaret Keane, a pair of social misfits who made their name in the kitsch category of modern art. Big Eyes, while subtle, is a powerfully charming movie with an adequate amount of plucky common sense from its director to make it a possible spoiler during awards season – not that that’s Burton’s aim. Regardless, Big Eyes is Burton’s most grown-up film to date.  

Big Eyes is the story of Margaret Keane’s emancipation from a husband whose very public lie has them both trapped by deceit as they con the public and the art world with her drawings of children with big, sad eyes. Welcome to the 1950’s. Margaret, played by the always reliable Amy Adams, has just left her husband in a world that looks down on divorce and is about to enter the workforce as she struggles to provide for herself and her daughter, played by Delaney Raye as a younger child and Madeleine Arthur as a teen. Her freedom in life is her art and, while she barely makes any money doing portraits of children for $2 a sitting, she is happy.

Enter Walter Keane, played by Christoph Waltz as comically as only he can, a painter who desires to be both a husband and a father. Their romance is a fast one. Two artists in love, you know, tend to throw caution to the wind and they are wed shortly after first meeting. Soon, Margaret’s lack of self-confidence and self-worth take another nose dive as Walter starts showing his and her work and taking credit – since they both share same last name – for her work because he can’t resist the attention they are garnering from the public. The lie turns lucrative and Margaret, who continues to paint the big eyed children, finds herself relinquishing all authorship of her work to her husband whose big ideas has her work being reproduced at an alarming rate. She is trapped in a pop-art Hell of her own creation and must somehow escape and reclaim her self-worth once again.

Big Eyes, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (the team that brought Ed Wood to life), is a story that sees its heroine as responsible in the art con as her husband. While we sympathize more with her, Walter is never the true villain. Neither is he a painter. The truth will out, they say, and Big Eyes is about reclaiming what is rightfully yours in the creative sense after a period of reflection. Adams gives the damaged psyche of Margaret a soft-spoken treatment that is both tragic and achingly tied to her big-eyed waif portraits. We understand her. Waltz sees Walter as a man very much of the time period and his reactions are perfect; even allowing for a bit of comedy in a courtroom scene that has the two “artists” painting to prove their ownership after years of publicly lying to the press about who Keane is.

Both characters are flawed. This is the territory of Burton after all. No one is innocent. Burton works hard, once again, and explores what attracted him to Keane’s story by focusing on the social outcast angle of her work. The big eyes and all are staples of Burton’s body of work – whether in films or in his art – and it all comes to head here when the emphasis on the eyes as the looking-glass to the soul. Watch how those big eyes come to life in the world around Keane as she is haunted by her created children clamoring for her authorship to return to its rightful namesake. When Burton connects to his subject like this, the results are beautiful. Big Eyes, like Ed Wood and Big Fish, may not find a big audience but the audience who discovers it will love the hell out of the film.

Big Eyes is a love letter from Burton to his real audience: the creative social misfit.


[tab title="Film Details"]

Big Eyes - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language.
105 mins
: Tim Burton
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter
: Drama | Biography
She created it. He sold it. And they bought it.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Wow, this is all happening mighty quick."
The Weinstein Company
Official Site: http://bigeyesfilm.com/
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 14, 2015
Synopsis: Directed and produced by Tim Burton, Big Eyes is based on the true story of Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), who was one of the most successful painters 1950s and early 1960s. The artist earned staggering notoriety by revolutionizing the commercialization and accessibility of popular art with his enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes. The truth would eventually be discovered though: Keane's were actually not created by him at all, but by his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams). The Keanes, it seemed, had been living a lie that had grown to gigantic proportions. Big Eyes centers on Margaret's awakening as an artist, the phenomenal success of her paintings, and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, who was catapulted to international fame while taking credit for her work.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Big Eyes - Movie Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 14, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; aSpanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; Digital copy (as download)
Region Encoding: A

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes is big in the image department. The 1.78:1 transfer is bursting with bright imagery, with a color palette that will remind viewers a lot of Edward Scissorhands. It's wonderful, with those baby blue cars, lush Hawaiian scenery, and gorgeous street scenes, as well as Amy Adams' cute outfits, bleach blonde hair and pink lips. Even nighttime club scenes look great, with the neon, the blue lighting and the awesome black levels. There's also plenty of detail here, between the faces, the clothes, the brick, the screen doors, all of the canvas, and much more. Big Eyes is a big piece of eye candy. This film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is perfect for this movie. It's not bad, but it's not showing off, either. The dialogue is always clear and there's plenty for the surrounds, including street scenes, club chatter and the film's bold musical soundtrack.



  • None

Special Features:

Considering Margaret Keane's history and body of work, it's surprising that this Blu-ray only has a pair of short featurettes. The 21-minute "Making of Big Eyes" mixes up shots from the movie with interviews. There's not a lot of info here that isn't covered in the movie. However, it includes interviews with several people in front of and behind the camera, most notably Keane herself and director Tim Burton. Slightly more interesting is the "Q&A," which has snippets taken from a screening. One portion includes writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, with Keane and Amy Adams.

  • Making of Big Eyes (21 min)
  • Q&A Highlight Reel (33 min)


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