Review

Pictures of wistful children with unusually large and sad-looking eyes, those of a certain age will remember the prints, or paintings if you could afford them, that hung on peoples living walls rooms during the 60's and 70's. What they probably won't know is the fascinating story behind the actual paintings. Directed by Tim Burton (Big Fish, Beetlejuice), "Big Eyes" tells the story of Margaret and Walter Keane, the couple behind the paintings that made would eventually make them millionaires.

We first meet Margaret (Amy Adams, proving again that she is one of Hollywood’s leading actresses), in the 50's, as she flees, with her daughter, from a loveless marriage. Looking to make some money, Margaret, who has a talent for drawing portraits of children, sets herself up in an outdoor art fair in San Francisco. The one thing that makes her work stand out is that all the subjects have got giant saucer like eyes. Her talent quickly draws her to the attention of Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a fellow, not quite so talented artist that specialises in French street scenes.

Against the advice of her close friend (Krysten Ritter), who warns her that Walter is not to be trusted, Margaret, showing the lack of self-confidence that is to bring her so much heartache and trouble, believes that Walter is the best that she can do and the couple are quickly married.

Rebuffed by art houses, who hate Walters work, and describe Margaret's as kitsch, Walter, the confident one in the relationship, sets about selling his street scenes and his wife's "Big Eyes" pictures in a local nightclub. Finding that he has been given wall space next to the toilets, Walter is involved in a fist fight with the clubs owner. Luckily for Walter the fight is caught buy a local photographer and the picture of the fight, which includes, in the background, one of Margaret's paintings, appears on the front page of the morning papers. The publicity brings people into the club and Margaret's pictures begin to sell whilst Walters street scenes are left hanging on the wall.

When asked who painted the "Big Eyes" pictures an arrogant and confident Walter tells the world that it was he that painted them, he justifies his actions to Margaret by telling her that "people don't but lady pictures". Through a mixture of bullying, he forces Margaret to sit in a locked room where, in an industrial scale operation, she paints mountains of "Big Eyes" pictures, and Walters own charismatic and enthusiastic approach to sales the couple are soon making millions of dollars through the sale of prints, posters, postcards and Calendars.

To tell any more of the story would be to waste what is a wonderful film. Tim Burton proves that he's as adept with small scale personal films as he is with big budget fantasy films, "Big Eyes" is easily his best film in years. Filmed in a kaleidoscope of bright colours "Big Eyes" is a wonderful piece of storytelling that is complimented by an outstanding cast. Don't miss.



Big Eyes (12A)

1h 46m

Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp

UK Release: Friday 26th December 2014







Big Eyes - "I'm Keane, You're Keane" Clip

Big Eyes - "I Painted 'Em" Clip