This film, based on a true story, is pretty tame stuff for director Tim Burton. It is an account of the husband and wife team responsible for the "big eyes" paintings, popular in the 1950s and 60's.
It begins with Margaret (Amy Adams) sneaking out of a bad marriage with her young daughter in tow. They move to California where she paints portraits of passers-by for $2.00 or less, if the customer barters a cheaper deal. Next to her stall is Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz - who gives an over-the-top, but still enjoyable performance), who paints street scenes of Paris. He charms her and after a few dates, they marry.
They both continue to paint, but because it was a period when women were expected to be a mother and homemaker, Walter takes over the promotion, and ultimately the ownership of the Big Eyes waif paintings — all with Margaret's acquiescence, I might add.
Crowds begin buying anything they could get their hands on with the strange-looking children on them. They bought posters, coffee-table books, postcards, and after Walter opens their own gallery, the paintings themselves. They were very successful. Margaret was in a no win situation, even though she was missing the recognition, her work would probably not sell as well, if not for her husband's promoting talents. He would go to every gallery trying to have her paintings shown, was a frequent guest on TV, and became friendly with a newspaper columnist who informed the reading public about Walter Keane's every move. He was a showman extraordinaire!
With their wealth and celebrity however, came unhappiness. Walter drank too much and was often out-of-control, and Margaret grew more resentful that she did all the work in her lonely studio, while he took the credit she deserved.
Their story is an interesting one and along with the terrific settings and Waltz's great performance, the film is well worth seeing.