Oh Carey Mulligan. How my heart yearns for you and your perfect period-piece face.
In Suffragette, a movie about the women’s rights movement in Britain in the early 20th century, Mulligan is joined by Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep as part of a hugely accomplished female cast who act out their roles with some seriously personal vested interest.
The film opens with Mulligan, who plays Maud, working in a shirt and laundry factory, a setting that immediately invokes memories of the early scenes of Les Mis and has you wondering if Anne Hathaway might make a guest appearance. In fact, the whole tone of the movie is very Mis-esque: bleak, but empowering; infuriating, but undeniably true. However, to compare the two very separate events in European history is relatively moot, so I will draw no further parallels except to say the setting may seem eerily similar, and the fight, similarly astonishing.
Continue reading Suffragette (2015)
Big Eyes is about a fringe artist whose Gothic work about depressed, child-like characters becomes wildly popular, copied, and commercialized until it’s rendered a caricature of itself. And no, it’s not Tim Burton’s autobiography. It’s the bizarre true story of Margaret and Walter Keane and the fortune they made in the 1960s on paintings of children with, you guessed it, big eyes. Still, it’s not hard to analyze Burton’s attraction to this story. Each new movie “from the mind of Tim Burton” seems to parody his own aesthetic, turning it into a brand more than an auteur’s style. It would be far too easy to say that Walter represents the big, money-hungry studios and Margaret is Tim, just victims of their own popularity. But this is a movie that deserves to stand alone–and after Dark Shadows, I’m sure Burton wants it that way.
The audience might already be familiar with the weird 1970 court case in which Margaret sued Walter for slander while he stubbornly insisted that he was the original artist. But Big Eyes sheds light on the couple’s even weirder marriage. Margaret originated her iconic wide-eyed waifs when she was just a modest painter selling portraits on the street. But it was Walter who took credit for her work and turned them into a massively lucrative venture by selling cheap posters to the general uncultured public. The art world turned up their noses and scoffed, of course, but, as Walter passionately declares, the world is built on the lowest common denominator. Continue reading Big Eyes (2014)