Big Eyes

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Big Eyes Movie Poster Image
Delightful, quirky biopic of painter Margaret Keane.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 105 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

One of the main themes is the danger and hurt involved with lying (the liar gets his comeuppance). Also the importance of believing in yourself and standing up for yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Margaret is victimized through most of the movie, but she eventually finds the strength to stand up for herself, leading to a happy and fruitful life. If teen girls can learn from her struggle, she can be an inspiring figure.

Violence

In a drunken rage, a man throws lit matches at his wife and teen girl and forces them to lock themselves in a room. He starts a small fire. Also arguing and fits of rage.

Sex

A man and a woman kiss shortly before marrying. They're interrupted by a young girl. Occasional brief cuddling and kissing.

Language

One use of "f--k." Also "s--t," "bitch," and "damn." "God" as an exclamation.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink fairly heavily in the movie's second half. One character is staggering drunk in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Big Eyes is Tim Burton's delightful -- if slightly disturbing -- biopic of painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams). Expect some shouting and threats and one scene in which a man gets very drunk and starts throwing lit matches at his wife and stepdaughter. Characters drink somewhat frequently, especially in the film's second half, but the match incident is the only scene of drunkenness. Language is spotty but includes one use of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t." Sex isn't an issue, except that a couple shares a kiss after they decide to get married. There's a clear message about the dangers of lying, and Margaret overcomes adversity and goes on to live a long, happy life.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysarge123 February 26, 2015
Adult Written byB-KMastah February 13, 2015

Basically a Wikipedia page in movie form.

This is an interesting story, and the story is definitely more interesting than the movie. Here's a movie where I saw the trailers and said, "Eh, I gu... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written by[email protected] April 18, 2015

This movie is pretty good

Great movie but not the typical Tim burton film
Teen, 16 years old Written byJflores14 January 3, 2015

Amazing tale of one woman's incredible journey to unleash her big secret

Exciting, hopeful, and ironic all describe this fantastic piece of cinematic masterpiece. The movie made me laugh, cry, and also think. Great film for teens and... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the 1960s, Margaret Ulbrich (Amy Adams) separates from her husband and starts a new life in San Francisco, raising her daughter. While trying to sell her paintings of waifs with big eyes, she meets the exuberant Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), and they marry. While Margaret is shy and introverted, Walter is a great salesman who sets about trying to market their paintings. During a potential sale, Walter lies and claims Margaret's work as his own. The lie spins hideously out of control, and as the paintings become more popular, the crazier Walter's schemes become and the more desperately he tries to keep the secret. Margaret winds up painting in solitude, unable to see friends or her daughter. Will she find the courage to reclaim her work ... and herself?

Is it any good?

Tim Burton teams with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for the first time since Ed Wood; the result is another amazing-but-true story that's delightful, prickly, and bizarre. BIG EYES avoids the seriousness of too many other biopics and stays true not only to the Keanes' story and situation, but also to Burton's singular filmmaking vision.

While Burton uses quirky visuals to twist and dismantle the traditional domestic standard, he also focuses on an honest-to-goodness grown-up relationship and its interactions and confrontations. Burton's other signature touches are here, including Adams as one of his usual willowy blondes, but her great performance gets to the root of the character's deep, crippling emotional insecurity. Waltz is likewise terrific, manic and monstrous, the opposite of one of Burton's usual creative characters. A happy footnoote: As the movie closes, we learn that the real-life Margaret Keane is still alive in her 80s -- and still painting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Big Eyesviolence. Where does it manifest itself? Is it scary? Where does it come from, and how is it depicted? Does the relative lack of violence affect the impact of the few scenes that include it?

  • What is the sex life like of this married couple? What does the movie show and not show? What do these choices say about their relationship?

  • How frequently do characters drink? Do they appear to enjoy it? Why do you think they drink? Are there realistic consequences?

  • What does the movie have to say about lying? Is the lie exposed? Is the liar punished?

  • Is Margaret a role model?

Movie details

For kids who love true stories

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate