Seen Saturday January 10th: Big Eyes
In the 1950s and 60s, Margaret Keane is at first elated when her second husband Walter Keane recognizes her talent and gets her paintings noticed, promoting and selling them under the name "KEANE". But as the big-eyed waifs cause a stir in the art world and became a hot commodity nationwide, Walter takes all the credit, locking Margaret in a room to continually produce paintings whilst getting no recognition. When she finally decides to leave the relationship and stand up for her work, she has to battle it out in court to prove to the world that she is the real artist. Based on a true story. Directed by Tim Burton.
"She created it. He sold it. And everyone bought it."
Another aspect I enjoyed about this film was its style. Of course, being a film about art, this film prioritizes the story in question and stylistic detail and accuracy (this includes color and tone, sets, wardrobe styling and even casting that reflects ethnic demographics). The events take place largely in the San Francisco art scene during the 50s and 60s, which was a particularly tumultuous yet remarkable time in our country's history, but there were no references to major historical events going on at the time. Why? Because the visual aesthetic and the story matter most. Usually I'd have a problem with historical context being missing in such a way, but it actually works well for the film because it shows you what era you're in rather than telling you about it.
Lastly, I have to give kudos to Amy Adams! Her performance was so vulnerable and compelling. She's one of the few actresses I care about, and though I'm not cognizant of all her work I notice that she often takes roles that pay homage to women who do remarkable things (à la Julie and Julia). Much respect to her.
What I don't like about this film: I can't pinpoint anything in particular. One thing I would've liked to know is what inspired Margaret Keane to make portraits of sad-looking, big-eyed children. What led her to take on that subject and how did her particular style develop? That was a question raised in the film, but it was played off by Margaret's repeated assertion that art is personal. And so we never find out the "why" behind her pieces. But as an artist I can respect her not wanting to give it all away, so to speak. Some things are sacred and personal, so while I am left wondering, I can definitely accept not being privy to that information.
Would I recommend it?: Absolutely!