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Trivia / Goofs
Summary / Analysis
Times of India
Margaret Keane (Adams) has a gift for creating paintings that are evocatively and hauntingly beautiful. However, so buried is she in her art that she does not know how to market her creations. Enter Walter (Waltz), who not only charms and marries Margaret but also make millions off her work.
The story begins in the 1950s. Beat poets and artists abound before the psychedelic explosion of the 1960s. Margaret is a freewheeling artist and has no sense of taking care of business, finance and how to value her work in money terms. Her life revolves around her art, and her only confidant in matters of life, love and more is her friend DeeAnn (Ritter). Margaret raises a daughter by herself as she is a divorcee. She is also desperate for work.
And even so, she takes refuge in her paintings, all of which are characterised by portraits of all kinds of people, with larger-than-life eyes.
The movie essentially revolves around Margaret and Walter. As a fellow artist who also makes his living by selling paintings, he meets Margaret by chance at a local fair. He sells his works for $35 while the un-savvy Margaret is willing to paint a portrait for $2. Walter, obviously a better salesman than a painter, knows he is no match for her artistically but he knows a good catch when he sees one. He soon charms and marries her and then passes off her paintings under his own name along with smiley-face salesmanship to make big bucks. It is essentially plagiarism disguised by a veneer of love and it is only a matter of time before Margaret takes off the rose tinted glasses and sees things as they really are.
Adams' Margaret is yielding at first but gradually, her righteous indignation takes over. Waltz plays the consummate scoundrel, a wolf in sheep's clothing, with ease. The film is largely compelling and touches upon many aspects about the dynamics of a couple's love, along with the lengths and limits of tolerance one can have for the other.
Big Eyes is the only feature film directed by Tim Burton that doesn't feature actors he has worked with before.
This is the first live action film, directed by Tim Burton, that doesn't feature Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter after they were paired together in 'Mars Attacks'!
Due to budget restrictions and the Vancouver Deluxe laboratory closing in 2012, the film had to be shot digitally.
Big Eyes is Tim Burton's second biopic. His first biopic was Ed Wood. Both films are written by the duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
Amy Adams had earlier turned down the role, because the character lacked a stronger sense of self.
The script called for a scene in which Margaret attempts to teach Walter to paint, but the scene was cut before filming.
The sales of Margaret Keane Paintings soared ahead of the release of the film, with small paintings being sold for $8,500 a piece.
Amy Adams replaced Reese Witherspoon in the lead female role.
The real Margaret Keane is in one of the scenes. She is sitting on a park bench in the background.
Director Tim Burton owns an extensive collection of Margaret's work. Keane has also painted portraits of Burton's partner Helena Bonham Carter and Burton's former Chihuahua.
In the 1950s the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts building had not yet been restored and was in a crumbling state of ruins. It was fenced off and not visible to the public. It wasn't until the late 1960s that the palace was restored to its original beauty. However, in a scene, Margaret and Walter are seen painting a landscape in San Francisco at the Palace.
It is a surprise that Margaret Keane reaches anywhere because when she is driving the blue Mercury, the shift lever is in Park position.
Hawaii's first UHF TV station did not start broadcasting until 1982 - well after the period of this story. However, in scenes with TV microphones in shot, the microphone labels show TV stations on UHF channels.
When Margaret reveals on the radio that she was the one who painted the big eyes paintings, the sign outside the radio station indicated they used a frequency of 905.1 AM. AM radio stations don't use fractional frequencies.
The film is based on the life of American artist Margaret Keane, who was really successful as a painter in the 1950s and 1960s, but was consistently duped by her husband who would ask her to pain pictures but sign his name on it.
Margaret gois job hunting and accepts a job painting decorative work on furniture. One day, when selling portraits at a park, she catches the eye of Walter, who quickly puts the moves on her. Swayed by his charm, the two meet often and it is not long before they get married. MArgaret's daughter however, is not too convinced about Walter.
Walter spins wonderful tales about how he learnt his craft in Paris. Soon, Walter rakes in the big bucks with exhibitions of paintings supposedly painted by him. All the while, Margaret bites the bullet and continues to churn out one superb painting after another. Soon, they are asked to paint at the World Fair. Margaret produces a rather large sized painting which Walter proudly exhibits at the fair. However, the painting is criticized by a critic and Walter, already a bit drunk at the event, loses his cool and threatens the critic.
The damage is done, however and back at home at night, Walter drunkenly tries to burn the room that Margaret and her daughter are in. She escapes with her daughter and they set up their lives far away. Walter tells Margaret that he will have to produce a hundred works for her if he is to grant a divorce. She accepts but then Margaret finds out that he used to fake his own paintings, by putting his own name over other people's work. In fact, he isn't even a painter.
Things head to court where after a showdown, the judge asks both of them to paint a scene. Walter is of course unable to do this. Margaret wins the case and her finances are back in order. As the end credits roll, we are told how the both live the rest of their lives. Margaret finally gets the money and fame she deserves while Walter dies broke and bitter.