Review: Big Eyes

Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Big Eyes is a tale emblematic of the late 1950s and early 1960s, in the days before the women’s liberation movement. The idea that a man would take credit for his wife’s work, and that she would let him, is a symptom of how is was.

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

I was looking forward to seeing 2014’s Big Eyes with Amy Adams as the artist Margaret Keane and Christoph Waltz as her lying husband Walter. I’d always liked the paintings of the big eyed children and knew the story was based on true events.

I was disappointed in the film. Amy Adams’ performance felt wooden. Christoph Waltz, on the other hand, came off overblown. There was no nuance between them and very little chemistry.

It was a hoot seeing Krysten Ritter in the cast, as far from gritty and street wise as a character could be, but Jessica Jones was still in her future.

The role the newspapers and reporter Dick Nolan (Danny Huston) played in perpetrating the lie that Walter was the artist was interesting. Fortunes and brands are built on publicity, and the role of the media in that is under serious question lately. Walter was a genius at marketing, but he couldn’t paint a lick. Big points to the Hawaiian judge (James Saito) who brought the he said, she said argument down to putting paint on canvas in front of a jury.

It’s an interesting story and worth learning about. I enjoyed it from that perspective. I do wish I had been more enthralled by the performances.

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