Saturday, January 3, 2015

Movie Review: "Big Eyes" (2014)

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Movie"Big Eyes"
Director: Tim Burton
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Margaret (Amy Adams) is a divorcee with a young daughter named Jane (Delaney Ray). Margaret is struggling to get by as she works at a furniture factory while selling her paintings and doing drawing on the side. While at a local art street fair, she meets another artist named Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). Walter charms Margaret from the beginning and a relationship quickly sparks between them. When Margaret's ex-husband attempts to take their daughter away, citing lack of support in a single mother home, Margaret, desperate, marries Walter to show that she has a stable house. Walter is ambitious, a good salesman and hopes to sell their paintings directly to the public, but when people take a liking to Margaret's big-eyed children, Walter is quick to take credit and claim them as his own. Walter convinces his wife that people won't buy art from a woman and that he can make them money as long as they think the paintings are from him...and make money they do. Walter finds new ways to sell The Big Eyes through prints, postcards and plates, allowing the masses access to art at a lower price. After a decade of turning out art without recognition, Margaret is ready to fight back and risk their entire empire to let people know that she is the one who painted the big eyes and get the recognition she deserves. 

Tim Burton doesn't include Helena Bonham Carter in one of his movies and they split up! Now that doesn't seem right!

In our opinion, Burton has had a couple of recent professional missteps in his directing. We were almost worried that his best days were behind him. This time, on slightly lighter and much more colorful note than some of his recent films of the near past, the story involving the portraits of the Big Eyes is just weird and bizarre enough to be Tim Burton's style. "Big Eyes" is a triumphant return to form for the zany director, which gives us hope for "Beetlejuice 2." Maybe Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter were bringing him down! Throughout this film, there are little reminders that Burton is at the helm of telling this story to the masses in a nuanced yet vivid way, and we absolutely loved every minute of it.

The story of Margaret and Walter Keane is one that we knew nothing about going into this movie apart from the portraits themselves, and we were treated to quite a brilliant film! Amy Adams absolutely shines as Margaret, a woman who, after muscling up the courage to leave her first husband at a time when women just didn't do that no matter how bad the circumstances, falls in love with a master manipulator in her second marriage. Truly talented but with the disadvantage of being a single woman with a child, she has to rely on Walter and go along with a lie that she detests after a short time, but also profits from, too. Adams really brings the spirit of Margaret to life, both the good and the bad. You can see in the Big Eyes portraits she painted that she was deeply soulful and screaming inside because she was marginalized by not just her husband, but the art world, too. Christoph Waltz gives another spectacular performance as Walter Keane, the highly charming "painter" and professional salesman, who honed in on Margaret from the minute he saw her at a street fair. Waltz has this uncanny ability to be absolutely adorable and lovable while simultaneously being a total creep, and not just in this film, but in pretty much everything he has been in. His charisma knows no bounds. All of his deceitful ways help him financially succeed in this movie until Margaret gets the courage to stand up for herself and walk away from it all.

Overall, "Big Eyes" has many great moments of charm, though it does continue a startling trend of taking a few jabs at critics. We're starting to feel unloved. This movie will also make you think about how far back were in society even a mere 50 years ago. Women have come extremely far in recent decades, and this movie displays just how far back and undervalued women were and how they were once treated in society. The Keane's true-life story is such a spectacle that we're surprised we had never heard of it, but now, we're glad we got the chance to hear their tale.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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