painting of girl with big eyes

Big Eyes (2014) Review

Big Eyes? More like big whoop! Sorry, that was incredibly corny, but that’s how I feel about Tim Burton’s latest movie. I have to agree that it is the best thing he’s made in years; however, that doesn’t make this biopic the best.

Big Eyes tells the story of a real artist named Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) whose husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) takes all the credit for her portraits of children with their signature big eyes. There ya go: that’s pretty much the gist of the action. Walter pretending to be the artist behind the big eye portraits happens very early on (assuming you already knew about this story before reading this review), but the majority of the film focuses on just that subject. It gets pretty dull after a while. In most cases, viewers already know what’s going to happen in a biopic especially if they follow a significant historical figure or event, but shouldn’t filmmakers be able to create an exciting story despite the historical spoiler? Yes they should, but unfortunately Big Eyes does not succeed in creating any sort of suspense.

Eventually Margaret does come clean about allowing Walter to take credit for her art, but when Walter refuses to admit to his lies, a court battle ensues. An incredibly anti-climactic court battle. In fact, many of the big moments in Big Eyes really just fall flat. Throughout the film a well-known art critic (Terence Stamp) essentially makes it his mission in life to destroy Walter Keane’s career because of his intense hatred for his art. When Walter and this critic meet at a party, Walter attempts to stab him in the eye with a fork, which was probably intended to be a gasp-worthy moment, but instead seemed totally uncalled for. Christoph Waltz’s performance in general is a bit over-the-top. It’s true that Walter Keane was an eccentric person, and maybe he did act that insane, but it just did not work for Mr. Waltz. Everyone else is fine, but nothing really noteworthy to write about.

The wardrobe is the most enjoyable aspect of Big Eyes, which are beautifully done. Unfortunately, those costumes could not save the rest of the film. It’s an okay movie, but one I’d recommend waiting to watch through some streaming service. Good luck next time, Tim Burton.