Is Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' A Sight Worth Seeing?

Here's what the critics think of the new Amy Adams drama.

Tim Burton has his eye on the bigger picture this weekend, with the release of his latest film, "Big Eyes."

Based on the true story of 1950s painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) and her nasty falling out with husband Walter (Christoph Waltz), Burton's latest is a far cry from the past few films in his resumé — at least, that's what the critics are saying. According to reviews, Burton has turned in a film that reflects his own journey as an artist, particularly in recent years.

Here's what you need to know about "Big Eyes":

The Premise

"A horror movie tucked inside a domestic drama wrapped up in a biopic, Tim Burton’s 'Big Eyes' tells the story of Margaret Keane, an artist whose characteristic style is summed up in the title. Starting in the 1950s, Ms. Keane — who is still alive and who is played by Amy Adams with a whispery Tennessee accent and an air of patient melancholy — painted thousands of pictures of waiflike figures with sad faces and oversized peepers. In the 1960s, she was both famous and almost entirely unknown. Her work was everywhere, devoured by the public and scorned by critics. But fans and detractors alike believed that the author of that work was her husband, Walter, who hogged the spotlight while his wife stayed home with the pigments and the canvases. How this arrangement came about — and how it fell apart — is Mr. Burton’s main concern." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Meet Mr. And Mrs. Keane

"The film traces the power struggle in the Keanes' marriage and upends the June Cleaver subservience of the era as Margaret fights to reclaim the credit she's due. While I wish that Waltz would dial down his tendency to go cartoonishly broad, Adams is perfect. She makes her character's awakening a quietly aching roar of empowerment." — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

An Unrecognizable Portrait

"The irony of 'Big Eyes,' Tim Burton’s film about the authorial stamp on a work of art, is that it is nearly bereft of what makes Burton’s work so recognisable. The deeper implications of this are a matter for Burton and his shrink, but for us in the audience it’s a welcome recharge from a man whose last picture, 'Frankenweenie,' was merely a longer version of one of his earlier projects." — Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian

The Bigger Picture

"This is rich stuff for Burton. Like Keane, whose paintings New York Times art critic John Canaday (Terence Stamp) decries as 'atrocities,' Burton's faced his own creative paradox: The more money his films make, the more reviewers have dismissed them. Fairly, perhaps -- especially in the case of his soulless mega-hit 'Alice in Wonderland.' Yet you can't help but sense Burton nodding in agreement when Walter bellows at Canaday, 'Just because people like my work, does that make it bad?'

"Fortunately for Burton, Big Eyes is actually good. Not great, but good enough -- the perfect middlebrow portrait of the ultimate middlebrow artist." — Amy Nicholson, The Village Voice

The Final Word

"It is tempting to proclaim that 'Big Eyes' is exactly the kind of film that Tim Burton should be making. The film is at-a-glance a departure for the man who basically invented modern Hollywood quirk and made 'weird' into box office gold. But while I could tell you that this 'based on a true story' dramatic comedy feels like somewhat of a change of pace for the now 56-year old auteur who is best-known for big-budget fantasies and stop-motion animated fables, it still feels like a Tim Burton film in theme and spirit. Nonetheless, no matter how you classify the picture in terms of its director, 'Big Eyes' is one of Tim Burton’s best films in a long time." — Scott Mendelson, Forbes

"Big Eyes" is in theaters now.