Margaret (Amy Adams) just went through a divorce and moved to San Francisco with her daughter, ready to start a new life. She finds a rather unexciting job and spends her weekends trying to sell her portrait skills. There she meets fellow artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) and the two of them hit it off. A short while later, they get married. When Margaret starts signing her paintings KEANE, bit by bit Walter starts to take credit for them. Margaret is appalled at first, but since Walter manages to sell the paintings very well, she gives in. But that deal can’t work forever.
Big Eyes is almost a return to very early Burton movies and the more restrained style he employed then (I’m saying more restrained and not actually restrained, because let’s face it, restraint was never his thing). I enjoyed it, though I really wish that the script had been written by a woman.
There was a lot to like about the film, especially Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams who both (unsurprisingly) give really fantastic performances. Watching them fight with each other was really a whole lot of fun, even though I usually don’t like watching people fight. Plus, the film is really pretty. Burton really plays with colors and light and it looks wonderful. I also enjoyed the Lana del Rey songs on the soundtrack.
Keane’s art is not so much my thing, or at least the waifs aren’t. The glimpses we saw of her later stuff – those were fantastic and I would have loved to see more of them.
But even though I enjoyed the film, I didn’t love it. And that is mostly because I felt that it lacked the female/feminist perspective. There is a lot of potential critique in this story and potential female solidarity but the film sort of dances around it. If a woman had written it, I’m pretty sure that she would have called that shit out much more offensively, and I would have appreciated it. A lot. I wouldn’t have minded a little less Waltz if we could have had that.
Still, the film was entertaining enough and is certainly better than a lot of Burton’s recent cinematic endeavours, so let’shope that he does even better again next time.