As Tim Burton stepped away from his usual gothic, grim animated films, I was wondering what this new venture of his would be like. Having in mind the masterpiece that is Big Fish, I could never expect anything less from my favourite director and storyteller.
So yes, Big Eyes could never disappoint and it didn’t. The plot is simple; based on true events, the film focuses on painter Margaret Keane and her sneaky husband who used the ‘family name’ as an excuse to take credit for his wife’s paintings.
Sadly, there’s no particular darkness, no black humour, no imaginary universe in Burton’s reality this time. But still, his ever artistic, usually surreal, angle is visible once again through the amazing ‘50s and ‘60s colourful outfits, through a psychotic Walter Keane and of course, through the main theme of Margaret’s paintings; the children with the big eyes. Besides, what could echo Burton’s signature style more than a hallucination where Margaret pictures everyone around ‘wearing’ those huge sets of eyes?
Amy Adams in the role of Margaret encapsulates pretty successfully the fear combined with the inner strength of a woman of the time, while Christoph Waltz is beautifully disgusting as Walter Keane. Both of them can be seen as symbols of a time when everything, including art, was ruled by men and when there was not much room for career women, let alone a divorced one with a child!
Overall, Big Eyes is definitely worth watching if only for honouring intellectual property, through the eyes of a woman (no pun intended!) struggling between her social place and her sense of justice. I will always love Tim Burton, whether he comes in the form of messed-up candy-makers and zombie-brides or whether he’s telling a story like it is. Because no matter how perverse his imaginary worlds may seem, there’s always truth in them. Likewise, no matter how ordinary his true stories might be, there’s always a hint of hope in them; with or without the fairy dust.