Big Eyes

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Big Eyes
Big Eyes poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by
Written by
  • Scott Alexander
  • Larry Karaszewski
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel
Edited by JC Bond
Production
company
Distributed by The Weinstein Company
Release dates
  • December 25, 2014 (2014-12-25) (North America)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[2]
Box office $29.3 million[3]

Big Eyes is a biographical film starring Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz and directed by Tim Burton, from Screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. It is about American artist Margaret Keane—famous for drawing portraits and paintings with big eyes.

The film follows the story of Margaret and her husband, Walter Keane, who took credit for Margaret's phenomenally successful and popular paintings in the 1950s and 1960s and concludes with a lawsuit and trial between Margaret and Walter, after Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the paintings.

Big eyes had its world premiere in New York City on December 15, 2014.[4] It was released in theatre on December 25, 2014 in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company.[5] The film was met with positive reviews, praising the performances of both Adams and Waltz. Adams won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Waltz was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance and Lana Del Rey received a Golden Globe nomination for the film's theme song Big Eyes.

Plot[edit]

In 1958, Margaret leaves her husband and takes her young daughter Jane to North Beach, San Francisco. Supporting her daughter alone, Margaret gets a job painting illustrations at a furniture factory. While creating portraits at an outdoor art show, Margaret meets Walter Keane, who is selling his Parisian street scene paintings. Soon, Walter proposes to her and they marry.

Walter goes to a popular jazz club and tries to convince the club's owner, Enrico Banducci, to purchase the couple's paintings. He only agrees to rent out the walls to Walter. A drunk woman is touched by one of Margaret's paintings and buys it. Walter fights with Banducci and ends up on the front page of the local newspaper. When Walter goes to the club again it is packed with curious people. Dick Nolan, a celebrity gossip columnist (who serves as the film's narrator), wants to know more about Walter's art, but is only interested in Margaret's paintings. Afterward, Walter shows Margaret all the money they have made from the sales. He tells her they are a great team, she can stay at home painting and he will sell the paintings.

Walter opens up his own Keane gallery, promoting the art as his own work, and sells reproductions. Margaret becomes more upset about Walter taking credit for her art and lying to Jane about who is the real artist. Margaret decides to paint in a different style with elongated features and small eyes, so that she can honestly tell people she is also a painter.

Margaret and Walter move into a mansion. While going through a crate Margaret finds a stack of paintings of Parisian street scenes, but they are all signed by S. CENIC. She realizes Walter paints over the name of the original artist and claims the paintings as his own. Margaret confronts Walter, he confesses saying he always wanted to be an artist, but never had the talent.

Walter learns of the New York World's Fair and demands Margaret paint something to put on display; she refuses and Walter threatens to have her killed. Jane discovers her mother working on the World's Fair painting "Tomorrow Forever". Jane tells her mother she always knew that she was the real artist.

At a party, Walter is angered after reading John Canaday's scathing review of the "Tomorrow Forever" exhibit and confronts Canaday. Back at home Walter is still enraged and starts throwing lit matches at Margaret and Jane. They run into the studio and lock the door. Margaret runs away with Jane.

One year later, Margaret and Jane have settled in Honolulu, Hawaii. Walter will not agree to a divorce unless Margaret signs over the rights to every painting, and produces 100 more. Margaret agrees and continues sending paintings to California. Margaret is visited by two Jehovah's Witnesses who convince her that honesty is important. The next time Walter receives the paintings, they are signed "MDH Keane". On a Hawaiian radio show, Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the paintings attributed to Walter, making national news. Dick Nolan publishes Walter's claims that Margaret has "gone nuts". Margaret sues both Walter and the newspapers that printed his version of the story for libel and slander.

At the trial, reporters swarm the courthouse in Honolulu. The court quickly dismisses the libel lawsuit against the newspapers. Without a lawyer, Walter defends himself against slander. Margaret testifies that she felt she had no choice. Walter asks himself questions as a witness. The judge directs both Margaret and Walter to create a painting in one hour as proof of the real artist. Margaret paints steadily, but Walter is hesitant, claiming his arm hurts too much to hold a paintbrush. Margaret completes her painting and wins the lawsuit. Outside the courthouse, Margaret says she doesn’t care about money and just wants credit for her paintings. A fan asks her to sign a copy of "Tomorrow's Masters" and she does, finally autographing her own work.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski negotiated over the life rights with Margaret Keane, and wrote Big Eyes as a spec script. In October 2007, it was announced that development was moving forward with Alexander and Karaszewski directing their script, and nightclub operator Andrew Meieran fully financing an under-$20 million budget, through his Bureau of Moving Pictures banner.[6] Kate Hudson and Thomas Haden Church were set to star, and filming was to begin in June 2008, but was pushed back over prospects from a new Screen Actors Guild contract.[7][8]

In September 2010, it was announced that Tim Burton had also become involved as producer for the film.[9] Principal photography was scheduled to start in April 2012, with Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds attached to star.[10] By 2013, Burton had taken over directing and Big Eyes was set up at The Weinstein Company, with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz starring. Filming began in July 2013.[11]

Big Eyes is Burton's first film since Edward Scissorhands to be edited by someone other than Chris Lebenzon, who had other commitments with Maleficent the same year.

Soundtrack[edit]

Big Eyes: Music From the Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released December 23, 2014
Genre Film soundtrack
Label Interscope Records

It was reported in November 2014 that singer Lana Del Rey would contribute with two original songs to the soundtrack. The songs "Big Eyes" and "I Can Fly", which Lana Del Rey wrote and performed, were leaked in December 2014; the soundtrack album and both songs were officially released on December 23, 2014.[12]

No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Big Eyes"   Lana Del Rey 4:41
2. "Bludan"   Cast of Big Eyes 3:15
3. "Doxy"   Miles Davis & Sonny Rollins 4:55
4. "Hey Now"   The Red Garland Trio 3:41
5. "Tropicville"   Cast of Big Eyes 3:10
6. "Rik-A-Tik"   The Lively Ones 3:02
7. "A Minor Goof"   Cal Tjader 3:54
8. "I Can Fly"   Lana Del Rey 5:48
9. "Opening"   Danny Elfman 3:59
10. "Who's the Artist?"   Danny Elfman 2:56
11. "Margaret"   Danny Elfman 3:03
12. "Walter"   Danny Elfman 4:49
13. "Victory"   Danny Elfman 4:59
14. "End Credits"   Danny Elfman 1:12

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Big Eyes with an estimated budget of 10 million, earned $3 million during its opening weekend and grossed $14.5 million in North America, and $14.8 million internationally for a worldwide total grossed of $29.3 million.[3]

Critical reaction[edit]

Big Eyes received positive reviews, particularly for Waltz and Adams' performances, the script and Burton's direction. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 72%, based on 158 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's consensus reads: "Well-acted, thought-provoking and a refreshing change of pace for Tim Burton, Big Eyes works both as a biopic and as a timelessly relevant piece of (feminist) social commentary, on the difficulty women often have achieving recognition in a male-dominated world".[13] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Association Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
British Academy Film Awards February 8, 2015 Best Actress in a Leading Role Amy Adams Nominated [15]
Best Production Design Rick Heinrichs, Shane Vieau Nominated
Casting Society of America January 22, 2015 Studio or Independent Comedy Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera, Coreen Mayrs, Heike Brandstatter Nominated [16]
Critic's Choice Awards January 15, 2015 Best Song Lana Del Rey for "Big Eyes" Nominated [17]
Golden Globe Awards January 11, 2015 Best Actor – Comedy or Musical Christoph Waltz Nominated
Best Actress – Comedy or Musical Amy Adams Won
Best Original Song Lana Del Rey for "Big Eyes" Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards February 21, 2015 Best Screenplay Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Nominated [18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BIG EYES (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Big Eyes". The Numbers. 
  3. ^ a b "Big Eyes". Box Office Mojo. 
  4. ^ "Harvey Weinstein Praises ‘Big Eyes’ Screenwriters-Producers at Film’s Premiere". Variety. 
  5. ^ "Press Conference For The Weinstein Company's "BIG EYES"". Yahoo. 
  6. ^ Fleming, Michael (October 15, 2007). "Alexander, Karaszewski think ‘Big’". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael (February 5, 2008). "Kate Hudson to star in ‘Big Eyes’". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Michael (April 2, 2008). "Church to play Keane in ‘Big Eyes’". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ Mike Fleming (2010-08-19). "Tim Burton Reunites With 'Ed Wood' Scribes For 'Addams Family' And 'Big Eyes'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  10. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 22, 2012). "Witherspoon, Reynolds land ‘Big Eyes’". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ Fleming, Michael (April 2, 2013). "Tim Burton To Direct ‘Big Eyes'; The Weinstein Company Putting Finishing Brush Strokes On Deal For Painting Saga". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Big Eyes: Music From the Original Motion Picture". iTunes. December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Big Eyes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  14. ^ "'Big Eyes' Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ "BAFTA Nominations: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Leads With 11 – Full List". Deadline.com. January 8, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Casting Society Unveils Artios Film Nominees". Deadline.com. January 6, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ "2015 Golden Globe Nominations". Rotten Tomatoes. December 11, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  18. ^ "2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards Announced". Rotten Tomatoes. November 25, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]