Big Eyes

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(2014) ★★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 2 October, 9.45am and 10pm

Suffocated by 1950s suburban constraints, Amy Adams is Margaret Keane – daughter, wife, mother – heading for Frisco’s North Beach with her paintings in the boot and her daughter in the back seat. All her portraits are of women and children with unnaturally large eyes. “What’s with the crazy eyes?” asks fellow painter Christoph Waltz, who’s actually an estate agent with wandering eyes.

Adams mumbles something about the windows to the soul, adding: “These children are a part of my being.” A misunderstanding leads to Waltz taking credit for her work, which is far more popular than his own hack output. He signs his Paris street scenes with childlike capitals – KEANE – and Adams, now his wife, follows suit. Besides, he’s an estate agent, of course he exaggerates.

People can’t get enough of Amy’s sad waifs, these hobo children with crying eyes way out of proportion, like pancakes. And Waltz pours on the syrup. Serving drinks at their gallery opening, Adams is complicit in the deception, trapped in a lie she helped create. Which turns out to be a license to print money. Even Andy Warhol is a fan of Keane’s work: “It has to be good. If it were bad, so many people wouldn’t like it.”

The New York Times’ art critic (Terence Stamp, as stern as General Zod) isn’t impressed: “Mr Keane is why society needs critics, to protect them from such atrocities.” Waltz, who makes deplorable funny, is outraged: “What’s wrong with the lowest common denominator? That’s what this country was built on!” Tim Burton’s in his element here, following the film’s deadly proclaimer ‘based on true events’ with an opening shot of northern California suburban sprawl that’s straight out of Edward Scissorhands.

Like Keane’s paintings, the film’s creepy but cute, unfolding in an an infinity of kitsch. The weird story is treated lightly, like a joke, similar to Richard Linklater’s ‘true-life’ small-town murder story Bernie. Nobody died here but art got a good kicking.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 102min

IMDB – Big Eyes

TMDB – Big Eyes

Rotten Tomatoes – Big Eyes

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 3 October at 9:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 3 October at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 4 October at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 4 October at 11:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 5 October at 9:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 5 October at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 6 October at 8:00AM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 6 October at 11:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 7 October at 10:15AM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 7 October at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 8 October at 9:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 8 October at 11:45PM