Spoiler Alert Saturday :: my thoughts on Big Eyes

3 Jan

I… actually really enjoyed myself at this movie, which I superstitiously hope bodes well for 2015.  So here is a list of reasons why!

  • Amy Adams is a delight.  She just makes me smile a lot, except for when she’s doing serious, emotional scenes, at which point she makes me feel exactly the emotion I’m supposed to be feeling. She’s really very, very talented.  And she pulls off most every state from naive to world-weary, and that’s nice.
  • Christoph Waltz… I feel odd saying he is a delight, because here his character, based on the real person, was pretty much a textbook abusive sociopath, but he’s very talented.  I assume he’s a decent human being in real life, but he’s very good at playing a shitty douchebag and making you believe it.
  • The fact that he was so textbook was fascinating to me.  As a very amateur psychology student, I apply the principles I learned to even the silliest fiction, but the thing here was that it wasn’t fiction.  One of my people expressed surprise that Margaret Keane would have gone along with such a situation as that for so long, but my response kept being “well, that’s what happens sometimes when you get caught in an abusive relationship.”  It was all there, in terms of sociopathy and abusive relationships: the lying, the flamboyant egocentrism, the rampant gaslighting, the denial of any personal wrongs, the lack of any shame, the initially charming personality, the manipulation, the violent threats and occasionally actions, the manipulation, the isolating her from friends and even her own daughter, the selfishness, and it just goes on and on.  The movie may as well have been called How to Spot a Sociopath.
  • Somewhat on this note and somewhat just in general, I would like to call attention to the trial scene at the end.  Without giving an exact play-by-play, I will admit that I laughed out loud at least six times and silently through most of the sequence.  (Luckily other people in the theater were doing that, and had been doing that intermittently throughout the movie, almost always with an underlying tone of “not laughing because it’s funny, laughing because it’s so absurd and awful and how did anyone get away with that.”)  Some of this was because of look at the sociopath oh my gods, and some of it was just because I do enjoy a good procedural court case smackdown.
  • Another highlight of the film was, almost of course, Krysten Ritter.  Though her DeeAnn was a direct foil to Amy Adams’ Margaret and little more, she was a necessary voice of reason, even before the whole central debacle began.  She was snarky and worldly and probably a beatnik or something which endeared her to me, and watching her go off on Christoph Waltz’s Walter was oddly cathartic.
  • Somewhat on this note and somewhat just in general, wow, look at this movie passing the Bechdel test several times over!
  • Finally, it was a Tim Burton film that… didn’t feel like a Tim Burton film.  Or maybe it felt like older Tim Burton films, not all of which I’ve seen.  And that was sort of refreshing, because while I like Tim Burton’s stuff sometimes, I really do, some of it feels like a parody of itself.  This was just a solidly put-together film.

–your fangirl heroine.

smug smug smartass

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