From cave painters to Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol, painters have always shared the most intimate details of their lives.  But what if a painting wasn’t really your story to share?

From the fantastical mind of director Tim Burton, ‘Big Eyes’ tells the unbelievable but true story of one of the greatest successes and deceptions in all of art history.  Throughout the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Walter Keane revolutionized the definition of “art.”  With commercialization, mass production, and self-proclamation of greatness Walter Keane provided a new standard of art significance to the average individual.  However, this success was not entirely what it appeared to be.  Years after the triumph of the big eye paintings a scandal surfaced: Walter Keane was not the artist responsible, rather his wife Margaret Keane was the secret creator of every big eyes painting.  The shockingly true story ‘Big Eyes’ follows Margaret Keane’s life as she rises and succeeds as an artist, struggles to survive a turbulent marriage, and protects one incredible secret.

 

Amy Adams gives a compelling performance as she embodies her character, Margaret Keane.  With her authentic expressions, provoking emotionalism, and understated subtleness, Adams brings Margaret Keane to life.  Audiences are transported to Margret’s studio alongside Adams, fully experiencing her accomplishments, betrayals, fears, and strengths.  It is Adams depiction of Margaret that inspires audiences to believe in the truth of this great fraud.

 

Christoph Waltz also demands recognition in his role as Walter Keane.  His dynamic performance takes viewers on a journey from hopefulness to exploitation.  Even in his darkest and most cruel moments, one cannot help but admire the artfully constructed character that Waltz presents.  His chameleon-esque likability continually draws audiences in and consequentially pushes them away, providing insight into the reality of confusion that Margaret Keane must have experienced during their marriage.

 

But talent did not only ensue in front of the camera.  Director Tim Burton provides insight into the darker side of the art world while still encouraging moment of playfulness and drama.  Burton so masterly tells the ‘Big Eyes’ story because he has understanding of outsiders, a theme present throughout his collection of work.  It is his juxtaposition between simplicity and extravagance that deems ‘Big Eyes’ both painful and beautiful.

 

Danny Elfman’s original score elevated every high and every low throughout the film, inspiring even stronger emotion and reaction from audiences.  Even Lana Del Rey and her original song make an appearance. Though her song was slightly literal, it perfectly reflected the mood of Margret Keane, her paintings, and the entire film.

 

‘Big Eyes’ proved to be an absolute cinematic delight.  With a talented collection of actors, directors, and musicians, this film tells the understated, incredible, but true story of Margret Keane and her big eyes.

The film hits theaters on Dec. 25.

-Elise Cruz

Check out some photos from the “Big Eyes” New York premiere presented by Fiji Water.