The boys are now 7, 12, and 13.
While Christian is still a kid—into Power Rangers and Lego—the older boys are growing up. They’re in that interesting stage where they still play Minecraft and NBA 2K15, but moving on from the kiddie stuff.
Markus doesn’t want to watch cartoons anymore and Ben is kind of deep; he appreciates subtitled films.
When we travel, we’ll hit amusement parks and toy stores, but I’ll also point out nice buildings, art, and furniture.
Having grown up in’70s, I have vague memories of paintings with big eyes that were kitschy and haunting at the same time.
Today, they are known to be works of Margaret Keane. But back in the day, at the height of their fame, someone else claimed to have painted them.
That person was Margaret’s husband Walter—a pretentious, delusional liar with the gift of gab and marketing.
Margaret was a single mom in the middle of a messy divorce when she met Walter Keane who was unsuccessful in selling paintings of generic Paris street scenes.
He convinced her to marry him when Margaret’s ex-husband threatened to take custody of her young daughter, whose big eyes inspired the paintings.
When Margaret and Walter started exhibiting together at a local bar, it was Margaret’s paintings that started to sell. That’s when Walter started to take credit for her paintings and sell them as his own.
It was his marketing and commercialization skills—producing mass-produced prints and postcards—that made them rich and Walter famous. All the while keeping the real painter secret to the world—even to her daughter.
The secret and lies start to eat her up.
It takes years of abuse before she finds courage to leave Walter and start a new life in Hawaii with her daughter.
She does a radio interview where she finally reveals the secret, which hits the papers and turns into a scandal.
What follows next is a court room circus that will put to rest who is the real artist among the two.
Watch the trailer.
“So what did you learn from the movie?” I asked the boys while brushing our teeth.
“That it’s bad to lie,” said Ben.
“That stealing is karmic,” said Markus.
Indeed, Walter Keane died penniless and probably friendless in 2000, while Margaret remarried and still paints everyday.
Plus, she has this great Tim Burton movie to tell her story.
Amy Adams with the real Margaret Keane