Big praise for ‘Big Eyes’

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Cartoon by Lillian Wu

Tim Burton’s newest film, “Big Eyes,” released Christmas Day, is one of the films that stands out in his career.

Burton, who is most widely known in the film industry for his cinematically dark fantasies, horrors and comedies, surprised audiences with a quirky drama based on a true story that exposes the repercussions of a stolen creative identity and justice after a period of repression.

Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), a newly single mother with a young child, moves to Beat-era San Francisco where she struggles to find artistic success by selling her art on the streets. While timidly attempting to sell caricature portraits with larger-than-life eyes, Margaret meets fellow artist Walter (Christoph Waltz), whose charming demeanor and salesman-like strategies instantly appeal to her.

Despite having polar opposite antics, the artists quickly become a married duo and attempt to sell their art, with styles as opposite as their personalities. With the help of Walter’s smooth attitude and persuasive tactics, Margaret’s paintings begin to sell, while Walter’s are often ignored at notable art shows.

Eventually, Margaret discovers that Walter has been selling her paintings as his own, and when confronted he claims that no one would want to buy “lady paintings.”

Throughout the rest of the film, Walter continues to take advantage of Margaret, expanding on lies about the paintings on talk shows and in galleries, and while she goes along with it, it is evident that she is letting the lies consume her.

What makes “Big Eyes” stand out from other Burton films is that it does not feature dark creatures or fantasy worlds; instead, darkness stems from the reality of a troubling situation.

Between Adams’ perfect portrayal of an innocent woman overtaken by the dominance of her husband and Waltz’s believably insane charismatic demeanor, the lead actors both present very solid performances throughout the entire film.

The compelling storyline raises questions about the meaning of art and has an underlying theme of feminism, in which Margaret is able to overcome the controlling and manipulative behavior of her husband.

Overall, “Big Eyes” is one of Burton’s most meaningful films to date; it serves as a statement to society about the importance of art, as well as overcoming obstacles that prohibit justice.