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Big Eyes Movie Review

Hullo folks!
So I went to see Big Eyes  the other day and wrote this little essay/review in case your interested in hearing a 14 year-old's opinion before you go see it yourself!

My parents took me to San Francisco a few years back-- a spur of the moment type trip. We had nothing planned, which offered an occasion of no deadlines, where one could feel free to literally go where the day led. From the backseat of our Acura, I spotted a modest sign (an awning type thing) wedged between other buildings in typical San Franciscan manner. It read "Big Eyes Gallery". At the time, I was at the height of my anime/manga phase; evidently, anything resembling such would suddenly become a must-see. It was one of those rare moments of wanderlust; I just knew. somehow, whatever was inside there would be magical.

I don't remember the gallery being especially big; the building itself was not particularly remarkable. But what was inside was haunting and otherworldly, like something out of a dream. The paintings seemed ethereal yet somehow not faint; the faces disturbingly angelic, the colors in the paintings vibrant. There was a man there who made a polite greeting- asking if I'd heard of  Margaret Keane before. When I answered no, he courteously explained her story, and mentioned those that she would later inspire. I smiled in disbelief at the realization that most of my interests at the time had stemmed from this, from her. He did mention the prospect of a movie-- it would be at least a year before I would catch wind of even the preliminary plans for the movie.

I left the gallery that day, still haunted by her story

Which, for those of you that don't know, I'll quickly sum up here. Magaret Keane was a painter, who met Walter, another painter. She was somewhat forced into marrying him because of custody issues with her former husband over her daughter. Walter frequented many areas asking for publicity for his paintings. Through some complication on one of these occasions, he took credit for her painting. Because she was a woman and timid, Margaret couldn't publicize her work very well, so Walter began to take credit for it, gaining fame and fortune. Margaret had to lie about her work to everyone- even her child- which pained her greatly. But soon it worsened; her husband forced her to paint her famous big-eyed waifs and became abusive. She and her daughter escaped to Hawaii, where they lived for a while. Eventually, driven to almost insanity, Margaret confessed. She and Walter ended up going to court, in which Walter had to testify as his own witness. Needless to say, Margaret won. She still lives today.

The movie did justice, to say the least, to her story. I'd expected the usual nightmarish whimsy of Tim Burton, but instead I got a disturbing tale of deceit and sorrow. The movie didn't seem at all far-fetched; it aptly told of Keane's whirlwind, fairytale romance rotted to an abusive relationship. It was the colors/cinematography of the movie that enraptured me: the sugar pinks of the wedding, the way the actor's faces were cast red at the club the first time Walter lied, the gold of the lavish party paled to a yellow with the fight that broke out, the dappled, blue reflection of the pool in the horrific, yet dream-like scene where Walter pushes matches through the keyhole of the studio door. It was overall beautiful and thought provoking.

I left with much the same feeling I'd left the gallery with.


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