The Eyes Have It (Film Thoughts: Big Eyes)


Tim Burton’s movie “Big Eyes,” opens with a quote from Andy Warhol complementing the art of Margaret Keane, and the movie tells her story. Clearly, we are already biased and empathetic towards Ms. Keane. Truthfully, I have only heard about her/this story when I heard about this biopic of hers, although I have a very vague recollection of seeing her paintings when I was a young kid. I like her paintings. I think her style is a great mixture of melancholy and whimsy, though I do admit they are kind of kitschy. And I thought her story was interesting. She has a passive personality and agreed when her husband, Walter Keane decided to take credit of her paintings. Burton tells the story clearly. This is not your typical Burton production, though on one scene (the supermarket one) you get a glimpse of his quirk. Perhaps Burton has a lot of respect for this story and wanted to tell it in the most straightforward way possible. He succeeds and you are riveted from the first frame to the last. Amy Adams gives a great performance here, subdued but powerful. Counterpointing hers is Christoph Waltz’s manic over-the-top turn, which really turned me off. Surely, there is a better way to convey the character than his histrionic over-acting style? For me, it just highlights Adams’ performance more.  I think this film has an interesting story to tell, though perhaps may be a bit too tame for today’s mainstream taste.

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