As a little girl in the '60's, the Keane painting "Big Eyes" frightened me almost as much as this movie. Normally I am a huge fan of director Tim Burton (even when others aren't), but with this simplistic and banal script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, "Big Eyes" is an exercise in futility.
David thinks this is an interesting slice of Americana, but I couldn't care less about these two nitwits --- Walter Keane, played by Christoph Waltz, and his put-upon wife, Margaret, played by Amy Adams.
Waltz overacts terribly throughout the entire film. It's most painful to watch. In the scene where Walter first meets Margaret at a street art fair, he is so repulsive I found it very difficult to believe that anyone would be taken with him.
But apparently Margaret is, despite the fact she has a young daughter who needs her attention more. Adams does an admirable job with this wretched script. She actually is able to make us feel sympathy for this woman who is repeatedly duped by her lying, unfaithful spouse.
"Big Eyes" is a futile attempt to set straight the record of the unfortunate exploitation of a female artist by an unscrupulous creep who also happens to be her husband. Nice try, Burton --- but who cares?
Opinion: Don't Bother!
The Keane paintings featuring children with oversized eyes made their mark in American culture, but their longevity was minor compared to Chubby Checker's Twist, the British invasion or the miniskirt. Many American walls were adorned with Keanes --- including the home in which I grew up --- but who knew then about the scandal that was brewing in the early 1960's?
Director Tim Burton, a collector of their artwork, tells the story of Walter Keane, the scam artist, and his wife Margaret, the true artist, in "Big Eyes", starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. For many years, Walter takes credit for the paintings that made them wealthy. As the film depicts, he merely dabbles as a painter, but his real forte is salesmanship. In real life, he was so convincing that actresses Joan Crawford and Natalie Wood commissioned him to do their portraits.
Margaret is a reluctant participant in the lie, finally challenging her husband in court. The best part of "Big Eyes" does take place in a courtroom, when a clearly flustered Walter gets his overdue comeuppance.
Perhaps Waltz overacts a bit, but there is no denying his accurate portrayal of Walter's charm and ultimate smarm. Adams is well cast as Margaret. She is convincing as the naive young woman who is transposed into the wife who finally takes on her cheating spouse. Adams perfectly captures Margaret's mixed emotions of opposing the man she once loved, but now is compelled to force his hand in a court of law.
"Big Eyes" is a slice of Americana, bathed in the greed of one individual who was surely self-delusional. The strange saga of the Keane paintings is merely a blip in the history books, but Tim Burton proves that sometimes its those little things that amaze us the most.
Opinion: See It Now!