Tim Burton, a man with an odd look at the world, one that often is twisted into some nightmarish vision that speaks Halloween, or some occult motif. So you can bet I was surprised to see him as the director of his latest project entitled Big Eyes. Seeing the trailer for this film, I saw Amy Adams as the lead star, playing a role that looks to be right up her ally. Thus, I returned back to my home theater to write another review!
This movie is a Drama, but fortunately not one of those scandalous movies that use sex and affairs to “entertain” the audience. Instead, this one focuses on plagiarism, and lying for money, so life essentially. Margaret’s journey is one of those stories about a person defying the trend, becoming a stereotypical hero willing to take a risk to get her paintings recognized. The tale follows the same formula we’ve seen before, small success at first that quickly turns to dismay. One will be able to foresee what is coming, even if you haven’t read the true story. Predictable as the plot may be though, the movie itself is produced well and in a time efficient manner. The editing did a nice job organizing the scenes, giving us a dramatic build up without taking too long to get to the point. Yes, there was some tightening they could have done, a few of the suffering scenes left out if we are being honest. However, these scenes of suffering often have something else tagged on to help keep the plot going. Also it didn’t have the same Tim Burton strangeness that we have come to love, so don’t set your hopes high.
In addition to the good editing, Big Eyes has beautiful artwork scattered throughout the film. For those who love the arts of painting and drawing, you will fall in love with Ms. Keane’s work, admiring the uniqueness amidst the uniformity. Amidst the big eyed paintings, there are a few other styles thrown in to the fray, works that I find simplistic, but others may find…magical. I was more interested in the process of art, from pencil to painting it was intriguing to see the work unfold before me. Of course, it wouldn’t be real art movie if we didn’t get to see how that art was accepted. From pompous critics to the layman, you get the whole spectrum of the use of art in this capitalist world, pitting quantity vs. quality.
Even more impressive for me was the integration of the morals into the story. As her artwork evolved, Margaret found a niche in her Big Eyes that brought happiness, and money, despite the lack of credit. Of course popular trends led to a depreciation of art, leading to more cash and more misery for our leading lady. Namely as the paintings become more successful, the artist gets put more in the shadows, causing her to push herself to her artistic limits. The morals of inspiration, passion, and creativity are beaming in this movie, and great lessons for any who partake in the arts. As an added bonus, there is also a nice lesson of standing up for yourself, though it comes near the end after her limits are reached. Still, the audience, in particular the female members, will become empowered by this movie.
What really makes this movie come to life though is the acting. Adams in particular is the stalwart heroine we love to see. Noble, hardworking, and perseverant, this woman has all the qualities one would want when it comes to facing hard times. Yet, she isn’t a Marvel superhero, she has flaws that lead to her suffering, paralyzed from taking action due to fear of repercussions. I felt bad for the girl, hoping she would find the guts to send her con artist of a husband packing, or at least give him a good punch. Despite how strong she was though, Amy’s performance is only half the equation of this tale. The iconic Christoph Waltz plays his villainous side once more to perfection, bringing greed, selfishness, and lying to the table. Christoph sold me into his character’s skills, working the community for everything it was worth. At first you get disappointed at his antics, but as the movie goes on he evolves into a character you hate, most likely wishing for something bad to happen. Separate they are fantastic, but together they are even better. Unfortunately some of the other cast members are pushed to the side, but less screen time means less money spent, so cheers to that… I guess.
Big Eyes is one of the better dramas I have seen, especially in terms of editing and acting. This tale is not that original, and is predictable from a mile way, but hey what story isn’t these days. Fans of the either Waltz or Adams will love this movie, and those who are artists will find this movie incredibly relatable. Again, there are still some things that needed work, but it’s a good movie to check out at home. Is it worth a trip to the theater? For the acting yes, for the story maybe, but it doesn’t have the effects made for the silver screen.
My scores for Big Eyes are:
Movie Overall: 6.5