Big Eyes (2014) was released on December 25, 2014, the same day as another big budget costume flick, also designed by Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods (2014), so most of the media discussion about the film is split between having Atwood talk about her process for both films. Since Big Eyes is the more staid, traditional historical flick, it gets less overall press than the more fantastical Into the Woods, which means there’s not a lot of information about Atwood’s process when it came to designing the costumes.
Nevertheless, the film is an engaging two-hour skim of the incredible story of Margaret Keane, whose husband Walter passed off her art as his own for an incredibly successful decade that brought them fame and fortune, but ultimately cost them their marriage. Directed by Tim Burton, it’s got its surreal elements sprinkled throughout, but it’s a pretty straightforward Burtonesque biopic. Don’t expect it to adhere to a strict timeline in terms of how things actually happened in real life, because it’s not going for historical accuracy, just emotional punch.
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz play Margaret and Walter, respectively. Their life is depicted against the backdrop of famous San Francisco landmarks and neighborhoods — North Beach, the Haight, the Palace of Fine Arts, before settling in the poshy enclave of Woodside about 30 minutes from SF. There are detours to Oahu and New York City, but the bulk of the film is centered around the mid-1950s-to-mid-1960s by the Bay, at the tail end of the Beatnik era, before the rise of the hippie era. I thought it felt more authentic to the San Francisco I know and begrudgingly love, to be honest. The tucked-away jazz clubs that still manage to cling to life in the dark corners of North Beach, the overly bright and sparse art galleries that litter the city, giant concrete cathedrals set against bright blue skies…
But enough about the atmosphere. We’re here to talk about the costumes. As I mentioned, due to Big Eyes and Into the Woods being released on the same day, most of the discussion with Atwood is shifted to the more visually powerful latter than the understated mid-century former, so finding any interviews that delve into the costumes of Big Eyes is tricky. Which is not to say that the costumes are not great — they’re Colleen Atwood, afterall. They’re going to be good no matter what.
Have you seen Big Eyes (2014)? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Boat neck? 3/4 sleeves? Dark green? We neeeeds it, precious.
Remind me not to get between you and a good sectional……….damn!
I really like this movie, it’s so underrated
“I should really do a feature someday on fabulously dressed besties in film…”
yes, yes you should
and I will be here for it.