Big Eyes

Year: 2014
Production Co: The Weinstein Company
Director: Tim Burton
Producer: Scott Alexander/Tim Burton/Larry Karaszewski/Lynette Howell
Writer: Scott Alexander/Larry Karaszewski
Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz , Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter

This is another Tim Burton movie for people who hate Tim Burton movies, along with Big Fish (coincidence?). He keeps the visual flourishes to a minimum and just lets the characters and plot tell the story.

It's also a testament to the clout of a major filmmaker. Burton remembered the artwork referenced in the title from his childhood growing up in LA's San Fernando Valley, and somewhere along the way he found out who was behind it (and the apparently true story about the scandal surrounding the artist's identity) and decided it would make a great movie.

Either that or he came across a script about her and decided it would make a great movie – the point is that it was his name that undoubtedly made it happen.

It's the mid 50s in California and it's almost unheard of for a woman to leave her husband, but that's what housewife and mother Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) does, taking her daughter and hightailing it to San Francisco where a far more free-wheeling and permissive lifestyle awaits her.

Margaret keeps painting her specialty subject, the children with the huge eyes that became a cult/kitsch item in homes across America in the 60s while she tries to hold down a job. It's while offering caricature sketches in a park that she meets the charismatic Walter (Christoph Waltz).

An inveterate huckster, Walter shepherds Margaret's work to fame and fortune, and through a confluence of events that's a little too convenient, decides he should claim the credit for himself, convincing Margaret to keep churning out the same rubbish from behind closed doors while he soaks up the public accolades.

At first it feels like a white lie, and even though it's hard to believe it went on for the better part of a decade (and is undoubtedly not as simplistic as it's depicted), history shows us otherwise.

Waltz is off the chain as the preening buffoon Walter – to such an over the top degree, in fact, it borders on irritating. Adams has a quiet, broken kind of self doubt and reserve that you're glad to see slowly evolve into strength without the emotional histrionics.

It's about the only film of Burton's someone might not guess is his if they didn't know beforehand. Depending on your opinion of him, that might be a good thing.

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