Big Eyes explores the awakening of painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, Walter Keane, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.
It’s a charming yet uneven film. It’s entertaining yet unsatisfying. This film seemed like a pleasant stray away from what director Tim Burton would tend to do or what we’ve come used to him doing. And this is not because of the fact that the film doesn’t have appearances by Johnny Depp or ex-spouse Helena Bohnam Carter.
The film almost works but somehow the dramatic arc seems whimsical and we have to accept the developments so the story can move forward. This may be reflected in the casting and I do tend to agree with most in the fact that Amy Adams seems like a great choice for Margaret Keane but Christoph Waltz for her husband? He is a brilliant actor, and has shone through in many of the roles he has been given (see Inglorious Bastards and Water for Elephants). But for Big Eyes, Waltz is meant to play an American but he can’t seem to shake his thick Austrian accent. He is entertaining and plays the role well, but we are not truly receiving as an audience is Walter Keane.
The film is also a little uneven in tone, maybe due to the stray from Burton’s usual style caused a few hiccups along the way. Storytelling is exactly where the film succeeds and the courtroom scenes towards the end are the weakest in the film.
It is, however, a touching film and shouldn’t be entirely disregarded as many have seemed to give the film a miss.