Big Eyes

Critics Consensus

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 social commentary.

72%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 190

68%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,611

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Movie Info

In the late 1950s and early '60s, artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) achieves unbelievable fame and success with portraits of saucer-eyed waifs. However, no one realizes that his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams), is the real painter behind the brush. Although Margaret is horrified to learn that Walter is passing off her work as his own, she is too meek to protest too loudly. It isn't until the Keanes' marriage comes to an end and a lawsuit follows that the truth finally comes to light.

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Critic Reviews for Big Eyes

All Critics (190) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (136) | Rotten (54)

  • Burton had a chance to make a powerful statement on the struggle for a woman to achieve artistic recognition and instead settled for another childlike fairy tale.

    May 23, 2016 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…
  • A feminist psycho-melodrama made without insight or dramatic excitement.

    January 12, 2015 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • Big Eyes is Tim Burton's most intimate and subtle film since Ed Wood, to which it feels a companion piece.

    January 2, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz are charismatic in the lead roles; occasionally they distract from the movie's overall smugness.

    January 2, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It's not the kind of performance that screams for attention. No showboating physical transformation or wrenching psychological endurance test. She barely even raises her voice. But as the artist Margaret Keane, Amy Adams is quietly extraordinary.

    January 1, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The more you think about it, the more you see all the subtextual tricks that were missed.

    January 1, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Big Eyes

  • Dec 13, 2016
    Tim Burton avoids another misfire and delivers a relatively entertaining film with a solid ending. Christoph Waltz is great as usual, Amy Adams does well. Tim Burton's distinct style is here, but it's a lot more subtle than any other movie he's done. Colors pop and it's a visually pleasing movie, as a film about a painter should be. Big Eyes is one of those cases where a film doesn't have any particular flaws, but it probably won't stick in your memory for too long.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2016
    Tim Burton's work usually sparks a divisive feeling amongst fans, but it's not often I feel so torn about one of his films. On one hand it's an extraordinary story which I'm glad was told on the big screen, but I don't know that Burton was the right man for the job. Margaret Keane is truly one of the most treasured artists of the last century. Her work with the 'Big Eyes' paintings are immensely popular, but it wasn't always her who took the credit. Her husband, Walter Keane, played by Christoph Waltz, claimed to be the artist behind the big eyes for a decade. This secret damaged Margaret's relationship with her daughter and her friends, and it's the basis for Burton's colorful film. The problem is that this film is trying to literally and metaphorically paint too many pictures. The tone is all over the place. It's a biographical film by nature, a comedy or musical according the golden globes, and even a horror film in one stupendously ridiculous scene. Okay, the last two are a far reach for several reasons, but Burton never really manages to nail down exactly how he wishes to tell the story. And that's unfortunate, because it's a fascinating one. With that said, Amy Adams is one of the few bright spots here. Not like that's surprisingly, considering she's been nominated for an Oscar 5 times, but it's worth mentioning. As she has done so many times, balancing strength and vulnerability is one of her finest attributes as an actress, and that's on display here. She's just so dang likable. Perhaps, that's also because Waltz is so far out of place here. It honestly feels like Burton asked him to bring his brilliant portrayal of Hans Landa into a PG-13 biographical drama. I don't know Walter Keane in real life, but I do know when an actor is acting in a completely different movie than the rest of his fellow actors. Whether it was Burton or Waltz's fault, the performance wasn't anything to ride home about. It's unfortunate just how awkward and tonally inconsistent Big Eyes feels, Margaret Keane and her work deserves a better film than this. I'm a huge fan of Burton's work, but this just wasn't the right project for him. +Amy Adams -Tonally all over the place -Waltz is out of control -Does disservice to an incredible story 4.8/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2016
    Not at all what I expected from a Tim Burton movie. Quite pleasantly surprised. I had never heard of this artist, so the whole story was new to me. Though not exactly thrilling, it was quite interesting and I did find I got quite involved in the outcome. I loathed that husband by the end. Really couldn't stand him. I liked the court scene near the end. Amy Adams is great but unrecognisable. I thought the actress who played her young daughter was also very good.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2016
    If I were to speculate about what happened behind the scenes when they made this, it felt as if Tim Burton was given a sort of a dare: "you couldn't make a regular film if you tried!" and that this film was the answer to that challenge. Adams and Waltz seem to endeavor to stretch beyond the Movie-Of-The-Week limitations in place but fail, kitsch ultimately winning out over sentimentality. It's a generic film, surprisingly so.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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