Big Eyes is Tim Burton’s most ‘normal’ film for a long time, and it’s all the more refreshing for it. He tells the story of a shy, anxious creative (Amy Adams) clashing with the world of commercial riches with understandable sympathy, but he struggles to bring life to the mostly one-sided battle between Margaret and Walter (Christoph Waltz).
A lot rests on the two leads and their performances are strong. Adams is tender and emotive as usual, but fails to convincingly demonstrate Margaret’s growth in courage. Waltz meanwhile is sickeningly slick, charming his way through life with an almost vaudevillian spring in his step.
Waltz is hardly reinventing the wheel with his performance, but he provides sinister yet sympathetic intrigue in his psychological war with Adams. DoP Bruno Delbonell buffs Burton’s kitsch pop visuals to a soft sheen, but, like the script, they never dig deep enough into the emotional heart of this fascinating real-life story.
CAST: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Madeleine Arthur
DIRECTOR: Tim Burton
WRITERS: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
SYNOPSIS: A drama about the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.