Big Eyes (2014)

Tim Burton has been no stranger to bringing disappointing films to the audience in recent years, therefore I wasn't exactly dying to see this film when it came out. I still watched it because of its leading duo, and it wasn't half bad. Rewatching it a few years later, I still think Big Eyes is a decent film. And not the typical Tim Burton.

It tells the story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), a painter who has a phenomenal success in the 1950s and had legal difficulties with her husband Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) who he took credit for her works. 

While the story is interesting and so is the figure of Margaret Keane, a talented painter as well as a frail woman victim of an abusive man, the storytelling isn't the film's strongest suit. Most of the story is rushed: I'm fine with it in the first part where Tim Burton perhaps wanted to point out how rushed Margaret's choices were, but it's totally not cool later on, when it seems like Burton only wanted to finish the film as fast as he could, and wasted the opportunity to make some great courtroom scenes. Still, the film flows quite well and entertains.

Another complaint of mine would be that at times the film focuses too much on Walter Keane, the husband, and gives the impression of being a film about his life rather than his wife's.

The Weinstein Company
The reason I watched the film in the first place was the cast, and I'd watch it again because of them. Amy Adams delivers yet another astonishing portrayal of a complex woman, and Christoph Waltz, although he was a little over the top and his character was nothing but a caricature, brings some humour into the film and I'll never get tired of watching him on screen.

I didn't use the word biopic because, in spite of being based on the true story of Margaret Keane, Big Eyes isn't the typical biography that wants to be taken seriously. It is more of a light, bittersweet comedy-drama that happens to be based on a true story, a story so unbelievable that feels like it was written specifically for the film.

Although this is not the kind of film Tim Burton usually makes, I can't think of anyone else to direct this film. Maybe it's because the big-eyed people on the paintings have some horror elements and therefore fit well into Burton's aesthetic. Or maybe because nobody else could have made dark humour work in a film like this one. Also, Lana Del Rey's Big Eyes fits Burton's style.


  1. I am with you that I just did not feel like seeing this even with the cast. I remember these paintings as they were a rage during the 1970's and I thought they were...and are, ugly as hell. I may see it one day but your review seems to confirm what I was thinking.

    1. I kinda like them. They are a bit scary, but they aren't that bad.

  2. Yup, what you say is true. Decent, but not typical Burton with a very good Amy Adams and an over the top Waltz. That's exactly how I saw it.

  3. I love biopics most of the time and had read about this before it came out. Then I saw that it starred Amy Adams who I can barely abide even when she's not the featured star so I gave it a pass. But I am going to jump over and see what you thought of Lust for Life.

  4. I remember being so embarrassed for Waltz while watching this, especially during courtroom scenes

  5. I'm right there with you. I found this film underwhelming, but I did like Amy Adams's performance a lot. Great review!