Margaret Keane was born in 1927. She had a child, and an unsuccessful marriage, so she got divorced. So Margaret went to San Francisco with her young child to start the life again. In that time life was very difficult for women, specially for the divorced and an artist woman. In 1955 Margaret met Walter Keane, he was a kind artist, that proposed her very quickly. She married him in Hawaii. They usually “paint” together and begin to sell their work. Walter was an intelligent guy who was very good on selling and convincing people. He was a visionary with great skills on marketing.
What Margaret didn’t know is that Walter was a liar. He told everyone that the pictures of children with big eyes, that Margaret painted, were actually from himself. She discovered it, but Walter manipulated her to accept the lie. She continued to paint secretly, and Walter gave the interviews and earned the money for her hard work. I think that her life reflects the women’s history in the world even today, where discrimination, stereotyping, objectification, oppression and patriarchy rules, unfortunately. For Margaret, life was always difficult because for a divorced, artist woman in that time wasn’t something usual and trivial. Art was a territory of men. And again, discrimination, stereotyping, objectification and oppression on women still happening even today, so you can imagine in 60s.
I saw this movie with my husband because I like Margaret Keane’s and Tim Burton’s work. What surprised me is that I always thought that the painting of the children with big eyes was from a man, and during the movie I discovered that Keane is in fact Margaret Keane, a brilliant woman with her difficult, but inspiring history.
I don’t believe that Margaret is weak. Walter manipulated her for 10 years. She had to support her daughter, so she became his complicit even when she discovered that Walter don’t paint at all. The paintings that he had was from Scenic, a french painter, so he was a total fraud. And after some episodes when Walter was drunk and manifested to be dangerous, Margaret and her daughter left their house and never came back. They decided to live in Hawaii and begin their life again, with no abuses anymore.
One year before, when Margaret was living in Hawaii, she with the help of her daughter, decided to show the world that the paintings were actuallty hers. Margaret filled a lawsuit against Walter about the rights of the paintings. The lawyer decided that both of them need to paint in jury. It was easy because Walter didn’t know how to paint, so Margaret won her paintings rights and a financial restitution from Walter fraud.
Her daughter helped and supported her all the time. And it’s beautiful to see the love of mother and daughter. Margaret was so strong during all time and full of energy. With her difficult life, Margaret stayed strong to do the right thing, even when the church and society didn’t agree with her decisions. This movie is still an inspiration for all women today, to stay strong, free and owner of your own thoughts. Now the world knows her art and her empowerment history. I really wish that it inspires and empowers women that suffer all kinds of abuse and oppression. And also I’m very excited to visit her gallery in San Francisco soon.