Big Eyes (2014) Movie Script

The '50s were a grand time,
if you were a man.
I'm Dick Nolan. I make things up
for a living. I'm a reporter.
It's the strangest goddamn story
that I ever covered.
It started the day that Margaret Ulbrich
walked out on her suffocating husband,
long before it became
the fashionable thing to do.
Come on, Janie.
Sugar! You made it!
- You're in North Beach!
- Look at you, Deirdre!
- Dee-Ann.
- Oh! Dee-Ann.
I know, but I came on the scene
and Deirdre sounded like something
my mother would call me.
So are you flipping for all this?
- Are you settled? How's Jane?
- Jane is swell.
She's going to
this sweet, little school.
You know, it's really hard
without her father, and I just...
- ...don't know if we're gonna be...
- Stop that.
- What?
- You're better off.
Between us, I never liked Frank.
- You were a bridesmaid.
- Exactly.
That's why I couldn't say anything.
But if I see you wrong off again,
I will tell you. Now, come on,
let's have some fun.
For jazz, check out the Hungry i.
For Italian, Vanessi's.
For salvation, try the Buddhist temple.
For art, Six Gallery.
- Do they only show Modern?
- Everyone only shows Modern.
And in the basement,
they have espresso.
Espresso, what's that?
Is that like reefer?
You have a lot to learn.
Back then, women didn't leave.
Not without a job or prospects.
All she had was her paintings
in the trunk,
and her daughter in the backseat.
Good luck.
We don't get many ladies in here.
So, your husband approves
of you working?
Uh, my husband and I are separated.
Separated? Hm...
I realize that I have
no employment experience,
but I really do need this job.
I have a daughter to support.
I'm not very good at tooting my
own horn, but I do love to paint.
So if I could just
show you my portfolio.
Um, I studied at the
Watkins Art Institute in Nashville,
then I took some illustration classes
in New York.
This is a... it's a pastel that I did.
And, uh, this is a charcoal portrait.
You do understand this
is a furniture company?
Okay, sounds great.
- You see anything you like?
- I like those over there.
- They're really neat.
- Yeah.
- Your stuff is cute.
- Thank you.
- How much?
- Today's special, $2.
I'll give you $1.
- All right.
- All right, go ahead, Dylan.
Go ahead and have a seat.
- What's your name?
- My name is Dylan.
- Dylan. And how old are you?
- I'm nine years old.
Nine years old, wow.
- It's like a Monet.
- Monet?
That's a hell of a compliment.
Though, if I may
respectfully disagree,
I'm more in the tradition of Pissarro.
Come, come a little closer.
Come on. Good!
See these daring specks of bold color?
Do you wanna touch it?
Come on.
Go on, do it. I don't lay it on thick.
You're not gonna break it.
It's $35.
Would you excuse me one second?
Here we are.
- Here you go.
- Thank you.
Oh, thank you.
You're better than spare change.
You shouldn't sell yourself so cheap.
- Well, I'm just glad they liked it.
- Oh! You're past that point.
Your heart's in your work.
What's your name?
Look, wouldn't you rather, uh, flirt
with those girls over there?
No. I like you, Margaret...
You know, Margaret Ulbrich,
you undervalue yourself.
Let me show you how it's done.
Little girl!
How would you like
your portrait sketched
by the world-renowned
Margaret Ulbrich, Queen of the Bay?
In mere minutes,
she captures your soul!
- Nah.
- "Nah"?
Don't you wish this were you
in this beautiful painting?
But that is me.
And that's me,
and that one started as me,
then Mother turned it
into a Chinese boy.
Hm... My apologies.
I misconstrued the situation.
Well, I'd better mosey along
before Mr. Ulbrich comes back
and socks me in the eye.
Mr. Ulbrich is out of the picture.
- Bonsoir, Henri.
- Oh, Monsieur Keane!
Sorry for not calling first.
Monsieur, your regular table is ready.
Madame, bonsoir. Bienvenue.
Thank you.
And I don't have to pay.
I'm set because
I gave the chef a painting.
- You know what he said?
- What?
He said, "No one paints Montmartre
like Walter Keane!"
I can't believe
you lived in Paris.
Best time of my life.
I've never even been on an airplane.
Oh, you have to experience these things.
You have to grab them.
I wanted to be an artist,
so I just went!
Studied painting at the Beaux-Arts.
Lived in a Left Bank studio.
Survived on bread and wine.
- You are a romantic.
- Damn right you are.
Of course, walking away
from the bourgeois scene wasn't easy.
I had to quit my job... leave my wife.
Yeah, these choices aren't easy.
I've never acted freely.
I was a daughter, and then a wife,
and then a mother.
All of my paintings are of Jane
because she's all I know.
Don't knock your work.
You have an amazing talent.
You can look at someone
and capture them on canvas.
You can paint people.
I can only paint things.
- Yeah, my street scenes are...
- charming,
but at the end of the day, they're just
a collection of buildings and sidewalks.
Walter, I bet you can paint anything.
When you look at me like that,
I could fall hard.
I'm sorry.
This is just moving really fast.
I haven't been on a date in a long time.
Jane, sweetie, stop fidgeting.
Mother, after all this time,
you must know what my face looks like.
Hey. Your canvas is blank.
- You can't rush inspiration.
- Jane.
Don't bother Mr. Keane.
You know creativity comes from within.
Don't worry. She's not bothering me.
I gotta ask you a question.
- What's that with the big crazy eyes?
- Oh.
Well, I believe that you can see things
in the eyes.
The eyes are the window to the soul.
Yeah, but...
you paint them like pancakes.
They're way out of proportion.
Well, eyes are
how I express my emotions.
I've always drawn them like that.
When I was little, I had surgery
that left me deaf for a period,
and I couldn't hear,
so I found myself staring.
I relied on people's eyes.
Walter? Hey, Walt!
- I thought that was you!
- Hi, Don.
Boy, am I glad to see you!
Hey, have we heard back
from the city on that setback?
My guys really need the variance
for the first floor retail.
- We'll hear from Permits by Thursday.
- Yeah? That's terrif!
I'll tell the architects. Okay.
What was that?
I didn't want you to know.
I'm in commercial real estate.
- You're a realtor?
- Yeah.
A hugely successful realtor.
Top earner in the downtown office
three years running.
And you're ashamed?
Well, any blockhead
can arrange a sublet.
All I ever wanted was
to support myself as an artist.
I tried to make a clean break,
but couldn't cut it.
I'm just a Sunday painter.
You're such
a gentleman carrying it all the way.
Thank you. Um, just come right in here.
Just set it down over here.
I just like to...
- Right here?
- Yeah. That's great. I just... to keep it out of the way.
This is... one that I'm working on.
You can see that...
I'm working on it.
I got the mail.
The mail...
What's wrong?
Oh... Um...
Frank wants to take Jane away.
- He says that I'm an unfit mother...
- You're a perfect mother.
He told the courts that, um,
she lacks a proper home
and that it is beyond my capabilities
as a single mother...
Marry me.
- Walter! I...
- Shh.
Don't think of a reason to say no,
'cause I've got a million reasons
to say yes.
- I know it makes no sense.
- No, it doesn't...
But just think
of the fun we'll have!
And I'm going to take care of you girls.
- Oh!
- Margaret, I'm on my knee!
Come on, what do you say?
Let's get married.
- We could be in Hawaii by the weekend.
- Oh, Hawaii? Marriage?
I don't know, Walter,
I'm crazy about you.
I'm just really overwhelmed right now.
Why would we go to Hawaii? Why?
Because you're a princess and you
deserve to get married in paradise.
You were right!
It's paradise!
- Only God could create these colors.
- I knew you'd love it.
- Can't we just stay here forever?
- Well, I don't know about forever.
But I guess I could arrange
for another week.
That's that waterfall, and
the air was so fresh you could taste it.
This was, um, an ancient altar.
That's a statue of Kane,
the god of creation.
- Hm!
- I said a prayer to him.
Oh, and that's Walter and Janie,
they built that sandcastle together.
Wow, this is all happening mighty quick.
In the time you moved here, I've had
two dates and you're already married.
Well, I thought there was a void
in my life and Walter filled it.
Walter's filled a lot of things.
He's diddled every skirt
on the art circuit.
That is my husband
that you are talking about.
I know, that's why I brought it up.
- I'm not naive.
- Hm...
I am naive.
But I know who I married.
Walter can be rash,
but he's a good provider.
And he's really wonderful with Jane.
We're just looking to make a fresh
start. I am a divorcee with a child.
Walter is a blessing.
"You are on the threshold
of untold success."
What's brilliant about the composition
is its spontaneity.
The image has no visual center
of attention.
- It's quite gestural.
- Oh, definitely.
Strongly influenced by the Tachistes.
I heard Tab Hunter
was in here looking at one.
Well, I'm not allowed to say, but...
Oh, Christ.
Don't come in here, not now.
Ruben! Good day!
Do you got a minute?
Walter, in polite society,
the word is "appointment."
Um, I could come back later.
You're gonna
love my stuff today.
Haven't I seen that one before?
No! That was painted
in the 5th Arrondissement.
This is the 6th Arrondissement.
I don't understand.
You lived in Paris for a week.
How can you still
be cranking out paintings?
It's all up here. And here.
Well, it's not going up here.
Walter, you know we don't go
for that representational jazz.
You're too literal.
- Art isn't fashion.
- Yes, it is.
People want Kandinsky or Rothko.
They don't want goopy street scenes.
How about this?
Good God! You've entered a new period.
No. They're my wife's.
Why are their eyes so big?
- Like big, stale jellybeans.
- It's Expressionism.
Surely, you recognize it.
Well, I'm just glad
you two found each other.
So what do you say?
- I say no. It's not art.
- "It's not art"?
It's like the back of a magazine.
You know, "Draw the turtle!
Send in a nickel,
win the big contest!"
How dare you!
Lots of people will like this.
Well, nobody who's walking
through the doors of this gallery.
Now, please, clear out the clutter
before the taste police arrive.
We'll never break in!
There's a secret society
of gallery owners and critics
who get together for Sunday brunch
in Sausalito deciding what's "cool."
Like McCarthy, in his hearings:
"I anoint that painter.
I banish that painter to Nowheresville."
I think people buy art
because it touches them.
Yeah, you're living in fairyland.
People don't get to discover anything.
They buy art because it's
in the right place at the right time.
Okay, give it up for Cal Tjader!
That set was humming!
All right, be sure to stick around
for the 1 a.m. show!
Oh, yeah. Enjoy yourself.
Enjoy. See you again.
Excuse me.
Hey, Banducci. I love the music tonight.
It's a gas.
- Oh, thanks. Thank you.
- Walter Keane. I'm a painter.
I was looking at your walls.
They're pretty plain.
Oh. Well, maybe you're right.
What color were you thinking?
No, no, I'm an artist.
I used to be based on the Left Bank.
Now I've relocated to the States
and I'm looking for, um...
an exhibition venue.
I like my club the way it is.
Your stuff is so hot,
go put it in a museum.
Okay. I respect that.
You're a businessman, not a charity.
How about if I rented your walls?
Walter, Margaret, we're ready.
Ah, an art lover! Beautiful!
What can I do for you, sir?
I'm just looking for the john.
I think you're going
to have to ask him.
Honestly, I think you...
How did you find him?
Oh, it was easy...
Look at that child.
She's so sad.
- Is she poor?
- She's forgotten.
It just makes me want to cry.
- Are you Keane?
- Yes, I am.
Well, you're a hell of a painter.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Your work is very powerful.
There's so much emotion in those eyes.
- Is something wrong?
- No.
- I didn't realize you meant that waif.
- Oh, I get it.
The artist doesn't wanna part
with his favorite piece.
Oh, sweetie, thank you! I love it!
I'll be quick.
Hey, Picasso! Nice crowd, huh?
You wouldn't know it
from that broom closet you parked me in.
What are you talking about?
That's prime thoroughfare.
People drink,
they gotta relieve themselves.
That's insulting! When people see art,
they shouldn't think of shit!
Hey! Watch it with the purple language.
Hey, there's ladies present here!
I've never posted bail before.
I'm sorry. Banducci laughed at our art,
so I socked him.
Since when are you thin-skinned?
Artists have to handle criticism.
I know. You're right.
But I was in a bad place already.
I'd had a couple, then I made some guy
believe I painted your big eyes.
What? I don't understand.
Why would you do such a thing?
It was a misunderstanding. And then,
I didn't want to jinx the sale.
Well, don't ever do it again.
- Hey!
- Don't give me a hard time.
I'm just grabbing my stuff.
Can you believe it? We're sold out!
I don't even have a headliner!
Hell, it's a Monday!
Walter, we made the front page.
People are here because
they wanna see the sappy paintings
that made grown men fight.
- I'm sick of you, Keane!
- I'll see you in court,
- you son of a bitch!
- You're gonna see me, all right.
- I'll sue you for assault!
- I'm sick of you and your paintings!
I'll... I'll sue you for slander!
And false arrest!
- You son of a bitch!
- Let's go see.
Walter Keane
was not a subtle man.
But subtle doesn't sell.
Yes, sir.
That was quite a load of horseshit
you gents were laying out there.
Dick Nolan. The Examiner.
Hey, pal, don't lose any sleep.
I eat this stuff up with a spoon.
Gives me something to write about
in my column.
I thought you were only
doing celebrities.
Well, Banducci's famous
and you hit him.
So you're a celebrity, once removed.
Buy me a drink.
Hey, Gary. I'll have a Ward Eight
in a frosted highboy.
And my friend will have the same.
So, Walter,
tell me about your work.
- When I was in Paris...
- Oh, no, Jesus, not those.
I mean the little hobo kids.
- Mm...
- Wake up!
Wake up!
- Mm... Hi.
- You were a hit!
What a night!
I sold out all your big eyes!
- There must be $200!
- They adore you!
- Walter!
- Because of that article,
the joint was packed!
And then a famous journalist showed up,
and... I need more paintings!
- Walter!
- Now!
That's gonna take at least a week!
I need to do sketching and painting...
Of course! But this is an opportunity!
- Yeah.
- We're gonna make a crackerjack team.
Me schmoozing up the clubs, while you're
back here, doing what you love!
Get out of there!
I love you.
The eyes are so powerful.
You know, a poet once said
the eyes are the windows of the soul.
That's why I paint them so big.
I've always done it that way.
If you're interested in that style,
I'm working on a few new pieces.
I have a little blond girl in a yellow
dress that'll tear your heart out.
Baby! What are you doing here?
Why are you lying?
Excuse me.
You were taking credit for something
that isn't yours.
No. I was just trying to close the deal.
These children are a part of my being.
I'm a salesman. You know buyers
pay more if they meet the painter.
They couldn't meet me
because you told me to stay home.
Look, we're making money. Your pocket,
my pocket? Where's the difference?
- You're taking this so lightly.
- Not at all!
This is not about ego.
You wanna say you did the street scenes?
Fine. I don't care.
Say a monkey painted them.
Well, I'm glad that you
can just dash away your work
without any emotional connection,
Oh, honey, I just want to share them
with the world.
Would you rather have your children
piled in a closet,
or hanging in someone's living room?
Who's that man?
That is Dino Olivetti,
of Olivetti typewriters.
But don't even think about it, Walter.
He doesn't speak a lick of English.
Hey! Welcome!
Good to see you, good to see you.
Um, Mr. Olivetti is enchanted
by the painting.
He would like to know
who is the artist?
I am!
It's a delight to meet you, Signore!
Have you been
an art lover for long?
I call this piece...
Five grand!
We made $5,000!
And it wasn't even
for one of your good ones!
- Don't you mean one of your good ones?
- No. No, no! No.
All right, "our."
One of our good ones.
We're now hanging in the collection
of Italian industrialist Dino Olivetti.
With his patronage comes credibility,
and with credibility comes respect.
- Well, what about honesty?
- Oh, come on.
The painting says "Keane."
I'm Keane, you're Keane.
From now on, we're one and the same.
My sources tell me that the mayor
is to expect a big surprise today.
On behalf of the children of the world,
I present this painting
to the mayor of San Francisco!
My man on the street tells me
that the Soviet ambassador's
in town this week.
In the interest of peace
through culture,
I donate this painting to the people
of the Soviet Union.
The Purple Onion. 9:30.
Joan Crawford has a dinner reservation.
Miss Crawford, in recognition
of your cinematic craft,
we bestow this painting on you.
The cat is out of the bag.
I can reveal that our local luminary,
Walter Keane,
is opening his own gallery.
Ruben's gonna choke when he sees this.
I remember when Mama painted that.
Are you sure?
That would have been a while ago.
Sure I'm sure.
It was in our old apartment,
and you had me sit on the stool
in the kitchen.
No, sweetie, you're confused.
I painted that.
No, Mother did.
I'm wearing my blue dress.
Lots of girls have that dress.
You have a good eye.
I painted it, but I tried
to mimic your mother's style.
You know,
the style she used to paint in.
Well, you did a really good job.
I'm sorry, I've never done this before,
so um, don't know...
I was raised Methodist,
so if that's a problem, I can go.
No, no, please.
We don't chase people away.
- Okay.
- What is troubling you?
Well, um... I lied to my child.
Why would you do that?
My husband,
he pressured me to do it.
I've just never lied to her before.
I'm not that kind of person.
Is your husband that kind of person?
Um, I don't think of him that way.
I mean, he likes to tell stories.
Maybe he exaggerates a bit,
but, um, he's a good man,
and he's just trying to save enough
money to buy a house for the family.
But what of the child?
Will this lie bring harm to her?
Harm? No, no. No. I don't...
I'm just looking for some answers.
Well, the modern world
is a complicated place.
- Mm-hm.
- Occasionally, children may need
to be sheltered from certain truths.
No. No, it's not like...
It sounds as if your husband
is trying to make the best
of an imperfect situation.
You were raised Christian,
you know what we are taught:
The man is head of the household.
Perhaps you should...
trust his judgment.
I think it's creepy,
maudlin and amateurish.
Exactly. I love it.
- We got in early. We own three.
- Oh.
Hey, baby.
Killer party. It's a happening.
So where's your stuff?
Oh, uh, we decided that this
would just be Walter's show.
Oh, "we" did?
Why would "we" do that?
Because Walter is more established.
It's strange, you know,
Walter doesn't really strike me
as the cute, hungry kitten type.
It's really good to see you.
Thank you for coming.
Your husband's quite a talent.
Do you paint, too?
Uh, I don't know.
I'm curious about your technique.
How long did that piece take to execute?
That? Mm. Probably months.
You know, first the thinking,
the sketching,
then the time with just me and the oils.
Oils? But isn't that acrylic?
Oh, that! Yeah.
Yeah, it's like a jumble of ideas
rattling around in my brain.
So where do you get your ideas?
What do you mean?
I mean... why are they
all images of children?
May I remind you, Miss Rogers,
that you're still under oath.
Miss Rogers,
you testified that
when you met Judson Bailey
in Corelli's,
you'd been talking to a man at the bar.
- Well, I don't understand.
- Couldn't he have been some stranger
who just struck up a conversation
with Mr. Bailey?
- No!
- Thank you, Mrs. Stone. That'll be all.
Perry Mason
will return after this.
New York Times
art critic John Canaday
with a perspective
into the work of Walter Keane.
Keane's work is completely
without distinction.
He is not a member
of the Society of Western Artists.
He has won no awards.
He's only noteworthy for his appearances
in a certain newspaper's gossip columns.
Mr. Keane is why society
needs critics
to protect them from such atrocities.
Can I come in?
Uh... no, you can't.
Mama's busy right now.
What are you doing in there?
Janie, sweetie, come.
You need to respect
your mother's privacy.
Sometimes grownups
need alone time. Come.
Is that the ice cream truck?
Go get yourself a Fudgsicle.
Ooh! Out of this world!
I don't know.
I'm not comfortable with this.
Jane and I used to be really close,
and now...
Eh, Jane's fine.
She's eating ice cream.
She has new shoes.
She even has a college fund.
Maybe... I'm just lightheaded
from all this turpentine.
- I've been up here all day.
- I need your help.
I want to go on television
to defend our art.
- Wait, you're going on television?
- Yeah, but what am I gonna say?
Meaning, what compels me
to paint these paintings?
Maybe you have an unhealthy obsession
with little girls.
- Cute.
- I'm sorry.
Looks like you've painted yourself
into a corner.
You want heat this winter?
Help me out.
Walter, art is personal.
What compels a grown man
to paint a picture like this?
Because I... I grew up
surrounded by six sisters?
I grew up in an orphanage?
I lived in a world
where adults had vanished
and kids and kittens ran wild
over a desolate landscape?
What about your street scenes?
Why did you paint those?
Well, I lived it. I experienced it.
Oh, was it all sunlit-dappled streets
and flower vendors?
Of course not. It was after the war.
There was destruction everywhere.
I traveled the continent.
The ravages were horrifying.
My psyche was scarred
in my art student days.
Nothing in my life
has ever made such an impact
as the sight of the children.
The war-wracked innocents,
without parents, without homes,
fighting over garbage.
That's where my life
as a painter began in earnest.
From then on, I painted the lost children
with the big eyes.
Those eyes that forever will retain
their haunting quality.
Mr. Keane!
Thank you so much.
Thank you.
Mr. Keane.
- How many sales today?
- Sales? None with this crowd.
These people are all looky-loos.
They can't afford these paintings.
But we have been giving away
a lot of posters.
It's the craziest thing.
I started charging for the posters.
First a nickel, then a dime.
Yes, Maggie! It's cuckoo!
But then it got me thinking.
Would you rather
sell one $500 painting
or a million cheaply reproduced posters?
See, folks don't care if it's a copy.
They just want art that touches them.
Then we could sell it anywhere.
It stinks in here.
You should open a window.
- What time is it?
- 6:30.
What do you got back there?
Let me see.
Oh, Walter, it's personal.
Personal? We're married.
We're not supposed to have secrets
from each other.
Come on, put it up there.
Put it up there.
It's a completely different style.
Yes, it is.
It kind of looks like you.
Well, it's a self-portrait.
How am I gonna explain that?
I was thinking that...
...maybe I could sign it myself.
That sounds a bit confusing,
doesn't it?
"Keane" means me.
I know, but when people ask me
if I paint,
I don't know how to answer
and it would be nice
to have the pride of being able to say,
"That's mine."
- Who'd you tell about the big eyes?
- Nobody.
If you tell anyone,
this empire collapses!
Do you wanna give back the money?
We've committed fraud!
I know!
My God, I know! I live with this
every minute of my life!
I've kept my end of the bargain.
I have not told anyone.
Please. Just let me have this.
I didn't know you painted, Margaret.
Yeah, we don't talk about it.
Sadly, people don't buy lady art.
What about Georgia O'Keeffe?
So, Margaret,
where do you get your ideas?
Oh, um, well, from the world around me.
And I just love Modigliani's
- use of line.
- Modi-what?
- Modigliani.
- For Christ's sake, Margaret.
Dick writes a gossip column.
Stick to the family angle.
Get a gander at little Janie over here.
What a talent!
Look at these Keanes.
When you cut open our veins,
we bleed oil.
Ah! A little treat!
The fourth member
of the Painting Keanes.
Lily, sweetie, how are you?
- I'm fine, Dad.
- Good.
- I lost a tooth.
- Really?
Did you get in a fight?
No, it fell out.
Well, is the tooth fairy something
I gotta deal with,
or did your mom already handle it?
She handled it.
Mm... Good! Good, good!
Janie, come.
Come, show her the kids' room.
And then you girls can join the fun.
Walter, you never told me
you had another daughter.
Didn't I? Sure.
Lily's from my first marriage.
Excuse me.
I'm sorry, excuse me.
May I have a word with you?
- What is going on in there?
- That's Lily.
- I'm sure I mentioned her.
- No, you didn't.
- Is she moving in?
- No!
Her mother's going to Vegas
for the weekend.
I'm supposed to have her once a month,
but I don't make her mom enforce it.
How could you lie
about something so big?
- Oh, she's a very sweet girl.
- I'm sure she is.
Well, I put up with your daughter
and never said a peep.
I'm gonna pretend you
didn't say that. Okay?
I'm sorry. Sorry.
Please, let's just get through this.
Any connoisseur
of fine art can tell you,
Walter Keane and Paul Gauguin
have a lot in common.
Both walked away from a career
to travel the globe.
Frankly, I'm...
I've known a lot
of famous personalities,
and only a certain type of creature
can live in that spotlight.
Walter had the chops.
Margaret? Not so much.
- I painted that.
- Really?
It's very... evocative.
You're so... mysterioso.
Yes. We don't use my name,
since people don't
take women's art seriously.
"MDH" are my initials.
And more.
I'm really interested in numerology,
and, as you know,
seven is a very good number.
- Seven?
- Mm. Luckily, my maiden name
is Margaret Doris Hawkins.
"M" is the 13th letter
of the alphabet,
"D" is four, "H" eight.
And if you add up one
and three of 13... orgy of color and sun...
sunshine. Excuse me.
...which makes
four plus four plus eight equals 16,
and then one plus six equals seven.
- Maggie? One second.
- Mm-hm.
Good grief! What are you babbling about?
Long division?
Could you please help the world
and shut your mouth?
The only number you want in his head
is the price.
Two nuts that fell from the same tree.
It's insufferable.
Why are we starving
while they print money?
Because that nut's a genius.
He sells paintings.
Then he sells pictures of the paintings.
Then he sells postcards of pictures
of the paintings.
I'll bet I could bang one out
in ten minutes.
- It wouldn't have the dopey sincerity.
- Ah, the customers won't notice.
Christ. It's a movement.
Oh. Dee-Ann!
My God! I thought
I had the wrong address.
I know,
it's a really long driveway.
Honestly, I can't believe I live here.
- Whoa.
- I know.
We've got two acres,
a pool, five bedrooms.
Though I thought that was excessive,
since there's only three of us here.
It's been so long since I've seen you.
I know.
North Beach is 30 miles,
might as well be 300.
Well, you're probably busy hanging out
with all your new rich buddies.
Please. Those are Walter's friends.
He brings people by.
- The Beach Boys came by.
- Wow.
- Are you hungry?
- I'm thirsty.
When we moved in, I thought that
a wet bar was kind of extravagant,
but you'd be surprised
how much use you can get out of it.
- So how is Walter?
- Oh. Well, he couldn't be happier.
He has everything he's ever dreamed of.
And so do you. Fabulous.
Is that your art studio?
Oh. No, you don't wanna go in there.
I wanna take a peek.
I wanna see what the workspace of
a wildly successful artist looks like.
No, no, no. No.
Dee-Ann, please do not go down there.
Look... Look, you can't go in there.
Walter paints here, too.
Is Walter home now?
- What the hell's going on?
- Oh. Nothing. Um...
I just... invited Dee-Ann over
for some...
You know I don't like anyone
seeing my work before it's done!
You and your whole
non-representational crowd are frauds!
Shut up!
You're so full of shit, Walter!
Get outta my house!
Get out of my big house!
Go back to selling your coat hanger
sculptures in Fisherman's Wharf!
Fuck you!
I don't want her ever
invited here again.
I won't.
- Oh, you gonna get that ball?
- Good boy. Oh!
Oh! Good boy.
All right, Janie, I'm gonna get to work.
Can I come?
No, I can never come.
No, I shouldn't even ask.
Now, how did you get in here? Hm?
Didn't you hear?
There are no visitors.
This is what it's come to, huh?
You are the only living soul
I can tell my secret to.
Well... I painted them.
I did. Every single one of them.
Every big eye. Me.
And no one will ever know but you.
And I'm gonna paint
another one right now.
To tick Walter off, maybe I'll paint one
about a crazy girl talking to a dog.
I had a productive day today.
Stumbled onto some hot gossip.
Madame Chiang Kai-shek is coming
to town, straight from Taipei.
I think we should present her
with a painting.
Get Dick to flack it.
Or the hell with Dick.
I met a new guy at UPI.
Maybe, uh... she'd like one
of your street scenes.
Yeah, I don't know. I thought you could
whip off a doodle of Chinatown.
With a cute little girl,
sort of a big-eyed, slanty-eyed thing.
No, no. She is a dignitary,
and she deserves a piece
that comes straight from you.
- You think?
- Uh-huh.
Maybe you're right.
She probably doesn't have a Parisian
street scene hanging in her palace.
Unless Madame Chiang Kai-shek
already has a Cenic.
- What's that?
- A Cenic.
That's the painter that painted
all your early work.
It's Scenic!
That's my nickname in Paris!
All my art school pals
loved my scenic views so much,
they called me... well,
they couldn't pronounce it properly,
so they called me "Cenic."
The more you lie, the smaller you seem.
How dare you accuse me of lying!
I'm proud of my early Cenics!
Then why did you paint over the name?
A piece of advice,
never use water-based over an oil.
It'll just fleck right off.
You sound crazy!
For God's sake, you've seen me paint!
No, I haven't.
I always thought that I had,
but it's like a mirage.
From a distance,
you look like a painter,
but up close there's
just not much there.
I've been to Paris!
I studied at the Beaux-Arts!
At the Grand Chaumiere!
I spent hours and hours in the Louvre,
staring at the greatness
of the masters!
...have you even been to Paris?
I wanted...
I so wanted to become an artist.
It just never turned out so well.
I don't want you
sleeping here any longer.
There are three extra bedrooms
in this house. Go pick one.
How many more of these
are in the back?
- I don't know. Um, maybe 3,000 or so.
- Does the printer owe us more?
Excuse me, miss.
How much is this painting?
- Go! What do I pay you for?
- Yes, Mr. Keane.
Sorry about that...
It's not even one of mine.
It's one of hers.
This doesn't change anything.
- I know the truth.
- Who cares?
Maybe it's time to shake things up.
- Start putting my name on the MDHs.
- No!
Absolutely not! I already hate myself
for giving you the waifs.
Quiet! Don't raise your voice!
Oh, I will talk as loud as I want.
No, you won't!
Or I'll have you whacked!
If you tell anyone,
I'll have you taken out!
I know people. Remember Banducci's
cousin? The liquor wholesaler?
Are you threatening me?
Fine, kill me!
My God, I have kept
our secret for years.
Never once have I...
Do you know how hard
this has been for me?
I don't have any friends.
I've lied to my own child.
Life imitating art...
a crying Keane!
Walter, what do you want?
Everything with you is calculated.
We're back where we had our first date.
Look, I don't deny I need you.
You're the one with the gift.
Now, there's a shot...
Oh, God, I'm shaking I'm so excited.
The New York World's Fair.
Seventy million visitors.
Opening day, I unveil my masterpiece!
- What masterpiece?
- Exactly!
What have we been missing all this time?
Da Vinci has his Mona Lisa,
Renoir has his Boatmen's Lunch.
Where's my defining statement?
You sound insane.
An artist doesn't
just announce his masterpiece.
Why not? Didn't Michelangelo
know he was hitting a home run
when he was on his back
painting the Sistine Chapel?
That took him four years.
But here's the best part.
It's for UNICEF.
UNICEF sponsors the Hall of Education.
We can finally give back
to the children of the world.
Hello, everybody.
I'm Lowell Thomas, standing in front
of what will soon be
one of the wonders of the modern world.
When people ask me,
"Why did she stay?
Was it fear? Lack of confidence?"
Margaret was trapped
in a lie that she'd helped create.
And now the cover-up
was worse than the crime.
Why did you have
to promise them Cinerama size?
Because it has to encompass
all children, all races.
Hundreds of stricken faces,
marching to infinity.
The ultimate Walter Keane.
A publisher says it's good timing
to put out a coffee table book.
You know, classy, Tomorrow's Masters.
They need my early portfolio,
my artistic evolution.
Yes, where are all
of your preliminary sketches? Hm?
All of that time
that you spent in art school,
and we seem to have waylaid
all of your youthful experiments.
All of those unfinished charcoals.
They've gotta be around here somewhere.
I know you're being sarcastic.
These are good ideas.
Berlin war orphans,
early self-portraits.
Get outta here. I'm trying to work.
Mom! What about dinner?
Mom, are you home?
Jane, this is Walter's studio!
You need to leave!
I know.
No, you don't know anything.
I'm not a child anymore.
Five... six pages?
Is there something here I'm missing?
He's like the Hula Hoop.
He just won't go away.
"Will be unveiled in the Grand Pavilion
of the Hall of Education.
Internationally celebrated artist
has been selected.
Will represent the aspirations
of children worldwide."
This is absurd!
And who was on the selection committee?
Oh, well, there wasn't a committee,
per se.
We just had a luncheon
with me and Ed and Jerome
and Jerome's wife.
Though, technically,
we didn't invite submissions.
Mr. Keane just contacted us directly.
Come on.
Wednesday the World's Fair opens,
Thursday our book goes on sale.
Friday I file for divorce.
Oh, why are you always so miserable?
Well, I'm going to enjoy
my afternoon.
Mrs. Teasdale, Walter Keane.
I just wanted to thank you for hosting
this absolutely enchanting soiree.
Well, you are most welcome.
Hey, Keane.
Have you seen The Times?
Honestly, I've been so busy all day
preparing for this lovely occasion.
I think you should read The Times.
How could anybody
say something so cruel?
What do you care? It's my name
being dragged through the mud!
- Is he here?
- Uh... yes.
Which is perhaps why it's best
for everybody if you...
Who wrote this shit!
Mr. Keane, this is not the venue.
Perhaps you'd like to write a letter
to the editor.
What are you afraid of!
Just because people like my work,
that means automatically it's bad?
No, but it doesn't make it art either.
Art should elevate, not pander.
Particularly in a Hall of Education.
You have no idea!
Why does someone become a critic?
- Because he cannot create!
- Oh, dear. That moldy chestnut.
Don't interrupt!
You don't know what it's like
to put your emotions out there,
naked for the whole world to see!
What emotions?
It's synthetic hack work.
Your masterpiece has an infinity
of Keanes,
which makes it an infinity of kitsch.
What is wrong with
the lowest common denominator?
That's what this country was built on!
I'm gonna sue everybody.
I'm gonna sue everybody.
I'm gonna sue this pansy critic.
And sue the World's Fair.
And I'm gonna sue UNICEF.
I'm gonna take down UNICEF,
and all their precious little
boxes of dimes.
But I can't sue you, can I?
You are the ultimate betrayal.
You failed me with that painting!
You crossed over from sentimentality
to kitsch.
Ah! Walter, stop it!
You like making me look bad?
You enjoy people laughing at me?
Open up! Open up!
Just let me in!
I can see you!
I'm gonna burn you out.
You're gonna blow up
like an atom bomb.
Come on!
Where are you?
I am so sorry that I was not
the mother I could have been.
I should have done this years ago.
Where are we going?
We don't even have any clothes.
Uh... where we're going,
we don't need much.
- Really?
- Yeah.
Yes, Hawaii,
because it's paradise there.
There's... birds and flowers
and beautiful colors,
and... we're gonna make a new life
for ourselves.
Okay? That's my girl.
- Hello?
- Boy, you were sure hard to track down.
Thought I might never find you.
I'm a little agitated.
I got the strangest papers
in the mail today.
It's a decree of legal separation
and I'd appreciate it if you'd sign it.
Yeah. Aren't you acting a little rash?
Walter, I want a divorce.
It hurts to hear you
say these words.
I sure hate that it's come to this.
Well, I suppose I could agree
to a split,
as long as... as you assign me all the
rights to every painting ever produced.
- If that's the price.
- Really?
Well, then we have to consider
future revenue streams.
My God, Walter,
how much more money do you need?
If you want me out of your life,
here's my terms.
You'll have to paint me 100 more waifs,
100 more Walter Keanes.
I'm gonna go to the post office.
You wanna come?
No, I'm gonna go surf with the gang.
Jane, I think that your friends
are a little wild.
Loosen up, Mom. You're impossible.
You move me all the way to Hawaii, and
then when I actually make some friends,
and all you do is complain about them.
Maybe you need to make some.
You know that I cannot have people
over to the house.
That's right, or else they'd see
the precious paintings.
Hello. We're visiting everyone in this
neighborhood with an important message.
We have something to share with you
about the wonderful things
that God's kingdom will do for mankind.
Well, from where I'm standing,
I don't see much good anywhere.
Just a lot of pride and thievery
and people treating each other poorly.
Do you know what it says
in Timothy 3:1-5?
"In the last days, critical times
hard to deal with will be here.
For men will be lovers of themselves."
Sounds like my ex-husband.
Um... would you like to come in?
It says right here,
"A worshipper of Jehovah
must be honest in all things."
I just can't believe you
let people in the house.
It also says,
"No lies speak the truth.
Let the stealer steal no more."
Shit, this is crazy, man.
All these copies.
- You're like Warhol.
- No.
Warhol's like me.
That fruit fly stole my act.
Ah! My art supplies.
The Factory. I had a factory before
he even knew what a soup can was.
Oh, yeah.
We got a special guest today.
A world-famous celebrity.
So let's give a big "aloha"
to Margaret Keane.
So is it true your husband, Walter,
is the top-selling painter in the world?
No, Big Lolo.
Everything you just said is false.
One, Walter and I are no longer married.
And two, he... not a painter.
But... am I mixed up? Ain't he
the guy who does the crazy eyes?
Although he has been taking credit
for it for ten years.
I am the only painter in the family.
You've got to be kidding.
You know what pissed me off?
Margaret gave the scoop to some
button-pushing Big Lolo...
...instead of a respected
journalist, like myself.
I knew it.
Who would want credit?
Margaret's gone berserk.
You gotta help me.
I need a story.
Wire story, national.
Just to calm things down.
I don't know, Walter.
What she said is pretty inflammatory.
But it's nuts!
Doesn't even make sense.
I mean, I studied art
at the Beaux-Arts in Paris.
She was still a little kid
in Tennessee.
My early sketchings.
Berlin orphans, 1949.
Why would Margaret
do something like this?
She's unhinged.
She left me to move into the jungle.
Fell in with religious zealots!
Jehovah's Witnesses.
I really don't know all that much
about them.
They don't celebrate Christmas,
can't salute the flag.
They won't even let Janie go
to the prom!
He makes me sound crazy.
He said that I copied him,
that he taught me how to paint.
"She used a slide projector to
trace my work and fill in the colors."
- Which part of that isn't true?
- All of it.
I feel good about myself
for the first time in years,
and I can't let Walter
just take that away from me.
Hey, is Jehovah okay with suing?
Seventeen million dollars.
The art world is abuzz.
Today, at federal court, lawyers will
present their opening arguments
in the case of Margaret Keane vs.
Walter Keane and Gannett Newspapers,
a trial that could produce
the largest libel and slander reward
- in Hawaiian history.
- Step aside, please.
- Mr. Keane.
- Yes?
Are you at all concerned
about the charges?
I'm angry as hell.
But I'm lucky I have the mighty
Gannett News company watching my back.
I expect this whole trial
dismissed by noon.
My only concern is that somebody
get this woman some psychiatric help.
- She needs it.
- All right. Excuse me, gentlemen.
Excuse me. Excuse me, please.
Margaret Keane is a public figure,
and as such, she has to prove
that our newspapers published statements
aware of probable falsity.
Now there's no evidence to suggest
that our editors could have known
these assertions were untrue.
We would like to submit 692 articles
and interviews in which Mrs. Keane
credits Mr. Keane as the painter
of the so-called big-eye children.
How many years back do these go?
Mrs. Keane has been making
these statements since 1958.
This is a very strange case.
These paintings hang in museums
all over the world,
attributed to Mr. Keane.
And regardless of the truth,
Mrs. Keane has contributed
immeasurably to the confusion.
Seems impossible that Gannett's actions
would ever meet the legal standards
for libel.
So the charge against them is dismissed.
Thank you, Your Honor.
- Good luck, Keane.
- Good luck? Where are you going?
We were charged with libel.
You are charged with slander.
Mr. Keane?
You appear to be without counsel.
Would you like a postponement
in order to get your affairs in order?
I've always taken care of myself.
I don't need a bunch of rent-a-suits
to defend my good name.
Let's proceed.
I'm concerned about my old pal,
Walter Keane.
The Hawaiian heat
may have cooked his brain.
The only thing he knows
about courtrooms and lawyers
comes from watching Perry Mason
on television.
I am the sole creator of my art.
This is my entire life.
My contribution to the world.
Mr. Keane, I've told you, you must
ask the witness questions.
If you're acting as your own attorney,
you cannot make statements at this time.
Yeah. All right.
It's hard to keep
all these things straight.
Mrs. Keane, how do you expect anybody
to swallow your fantastic story?
Mr. Keane...
Mrs. Keane, you seem to be a lucid,
reasonably intelligent woman.
So how could you possibly have gone
along with a far-out scheme like that?
I felt forced into it.
You had me, um...
He had me dominated.
He would rant and rave if I didn't
give him what he wanted.
I was afraid and I didn't see
any option, so I went along.
May I remind you that you're under oath?
I just gave in.
I allowed him
to take credit for the big eyes.
They were a reflection of my feelings,
and it was like losing a child.
But I was weak.
I didn't think that I could leave
and support myself and my daughter.
And he said that nobody would buy
the paintings without his personality.
Maybe he was right.
You are... very talented
at being charming.
And you are a genius
at sales and promotion.
Hm! It sounds like you've
described two different men.
One a sadistic ogre,
and the other one
a delightful bon vivant.
Well, that's you, Walter.
You're Jekyll and Hyde.
That's an outrageous statement!
- I demand we strike it off the record!
- Overruled!
No, you were outrageous,
constantly criticizing me,
wearing me down,
saying that you would have me
knocked off if I told the truth.
- Well, I am telling the truth.
- Your Honor!
- I ask for mistrial.
- You're a liar!
You don't even know what the truth is!
You don't even know I'm saying the truth
now, and you cannot shut me up!
Hey, hey, hey!
This is not a domestic squabble!
Or maybe it is.
But the rest of us have no interest
in watching you two go at it.
I'm sorry for my emotion.
I'm an artist.
Your Honor, I call as my witness
Mr. Walter Stanley Keane.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
- and nothing but the truth...
- Yes.
- help you God?
- Yes.
Mr. Keane, there seems
to be a lot of innuendo
and contradictory testimony
about the genesis of the big-eyed waifs.
Would you mind clarifying
to this court
who spawned these paintings?
Why, I created these children.
The choreography is not necessary.
Just sit down and testify.
I had a wonderful life.
I was an artist,
a friend of untold celebrities.
Yet, when I look back at it all,
to define what really mattered,
it was that I was dedicated
to the hungry children of the world.
It all began in... in Berlin.
After World War II.
The orphans...
...clutching the barbed wire.
Their bodies lacerated.
Their fingers scrawny,
their eyes big.
- Miss Joan Crawford walked up...
- Mr. Keane. Sit down.
Marilyn Monroe...
Wayne Newton and I...
Jerry Lewis calls me and says,
"I want you to paint me
and my family in clown suits."
Miss Natalie Wood walked up to me
and said,
"This is the greatest single painting
I've ever seen in my entire life!"
- You're done!
- I'm not finished.
Actually, you are.
I cannot stomach one more wild tangent
or shaggy dog tale.
You're not testifying,
you're filibustering.
Federal courts are overburdened enough
without all your
docket-clogging nonsense.
We can stay here
until we grow old and die,
but it's obvious that
this case boils down
to your word versus Mrs. Keane's word.
- Mistrial.
- No, it's not a mistrial!
In my opinion, there's only one way
to clear this thing up.
You're both going to paint.
All right, bring those easels down,
set them up on both sides of the bench.
Now, I'm not looking for a masterpiece.
I don't know much about these things.
I'm a jurist, not an art critic.
But is one hour enough?
Yes, Your Honor.
Okay, then. You've both been provided
with identical supplies.
So, without any further business,
Mrs. Keane, Mr. Keane, the court is yours.
Mr. Keane?
I'm just setting the mood.
Waiting for the muse to strike.
Well, your muse has 58 minutes.
Mr. Keane? Are you all right?
Oh, shit.
My old shoulder injury
just flared up.
I have, um, um... bad muscles.
It's... I've been taking medication
for the inflammation.
I don't think I'll
be able to paint today.
The jury found in favor
of Margaret Keane on all points.
She won on charges of defamation,
emotional distress,
and damaged reputation.
- Congratulations!
- Congratulations, Margaret!
- Thank you, thank you very much.
- Congratulations!
Margaret, what are you going
to call the painting?
Uh... Exhibit 224.
Margaret, can I possibly
have your autograph?
Two things mattered to Margaret:
Her daughter and her paintings.
And after all the crazy turns
the story took,
she came out at the end
with both of them.