Burton taps into the essence of a woman who, through adversity and necessity, became free
Margaret Ulbrich was an artist. Walter Keane was a pretender. And when they met they took on the pretentiousness of the artistic establishment – and rocked it to the core!
Tim Burton directs the heart-warming true story of the life of Margret Keane; a woman of meagre means, but headstrong in her protection of her daughter (she left her first husband to go it alone, something a 1950’s woman would never do) but fell under the spell of a charismatic salesman who wanted nothing more than to be an artist. Allowing him to take the credit for her ‘big eyes’ style of painting, Walter circumvented the artistic establishment and brought art ‘to the masses’ by producing and selling reproductions as well as the real deal, rubbed shoulders with the wealthy and famous, becoming incredibly well known and loved.
However, this took its toll on Margaret who for ten years lived almost as a prisoner, with no friends, working out of a closet studio producing paintings that her husband took sole credit for. When he eventually became unhinged, Margret, once again fled, and found the strength to take back her name, her paintings and her life in a dramatic court case that not only shocked the nation but, at times, is too incredulous to believe. More than just a biography, Burton taps into the essence of a woman who through adversity and necessity both struggled and dominated to become free not only of her oppressive relationship but of herself.
Everyone involved with the project gives an excellent performance and Amy Adams is, once again, at her very best portraying this real life character showing deep emotional resonance with a simple look or body language. Christoph Waltz, playing her nemesis, apparently captured the pure essence of Walter so well that the real life Keane was reportedly reduced to tears! More than a true life (stranger than fiction) story, it is also an inspirational effort where the visual tapestry is mimicked by the musical accompaniment that makes for a heart-warming and rewarding watch.
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