Thursday, December 25, 2014

Big Eyes

Today I saw Big Eyes, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.

Margaret Keane (Adams) was a single mother in the 50s when she met her second husband Walter (Waltz). They shared a love for art and quickly made a home together in San Francisco celebrating their creativity.

Margaret's signature style of painting included somber children with large eyes, as she claimed eyes were a "window to the soul." Walter instead created city landscapes of his travels.

They both struggled to sell their works until Walter convinced a local nightclub owner to display them, and patrons begin clamoring for her portraits.

This doesn't sit well with the egotistical Walter, so he begins to pass the paintings off as his own, and when they become a cash cow practically overnight, his greed only gets worse. He forbids his wife to reveal their secret and commissions her talent as if she was a factory worker, churning out loaves of bread.

She resents him for this, but dutifully keeps her mouth shut and continues to produce her art.

The film shows this absurd, true-life journey in a kaleidoscope of gorgeous Tim Burton hues. Cars that pop, lipstick that traces every sigh and of course the myriad of paintings that haunt anyone who observes them.

Adams is a pillar of pent-up pain and Waltz is a charming son-of-a-bitch who you alternately love and hate—though he only deserves your pity.

Oscar-caliber performances for sure, set against a gorgeous, retro Viewmaster palette, make for a satisfying delight of a movie.

A work of art in itself.


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