Film Review: BIG EYES

Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Kraszewski
Written by Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter

Amy Adams, who seems adept at playing any part at this point, is Margaret Keane in BIG EYES. The movie begins with her fleeing her first abusive husband with her young daughter. She gets a job painting pictures on baby furniture, but her real love is painting oils of big-eyed children. When she sets up shop at a local art market, she meets Walter Keene, a painter of Paris street scenes but also a more entrepreneurial personality.

Soon they are married and Walter quickly finds that her canvasses are the more saleable ones. He persuades Margaret that putting just the name Keane on them sells better and soon he is taking credit for the work. He is very clever at marketing the paintings and Margaret spends most of her time holed up in a small space turning them out.

For me, this movie had severe tone problems. Waltz plays all his scenes as if he is in a comedy, practically twirling his mustaches. And Adams plays her part in the tragic tone of a Lifetime or Hallmark movie. And then there is the art. I suppose if you can see the paintings as more than kitsch or camp it helps. The cookie- cutter look of thousands of paintings made it hard to take them or the movie seriously.

And I just don’t see how the exploitation of a naive woman can play well as a farce.

Patti Abbott