Big Eyes surrounds Margaret (Amy Adams) as a struggling painter who leaves her husband and becomes a single mom. She soon runs into Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) a charming fellow artist who has a knack for selling. They soon get married and Margaret gets stuck in an unhealthy marriage in which Walter takes credit for all her paintings.
Tim Burton directs this film, surprisingly, though if he were to direct a film about an artist it would be one who draws “big eyes.” It’s free of his usual tropes with darkness and fantasy and casting like Johnny Depp, though Waltz sort of mimics a Depp performance in this film.
This film has some off pacing. Margaret and Walter have this “loving” relationship much too fast, even if that is what actually happened. And parts of the film kept on dragging. Amy Adams gives a fine performance, as a woman struggling to find her voice and not let herself be dominated. Christoph Waltz, on the other hand, is too exuberant and over acts, he’s character feels much too cartoony against Adam’s realness, but that could be how the real life person is.
This film came before the Me Too movement and is very telling of women’s experiences not only in art and marriage in the 50s, but in life today. It’s hard for women to get out of situations like this. And while you certainly sympathize and root for Margaret, Burton slightly misses the mark. If you gave more depth to Adam’s character into what her paintings represent and explore the dynamic she had with her daughter more, this could have been a better film.
I give Big Eyes a C.