A gentle melodrama drawn from real life. Yes it is middle-brow, but it is earnest not cynical, which puts it leagues ahead of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Alice in Wonderland' for me. By no means is it a Great Film, but neither is it tired self-parody. If Burton needs to make films like this to get his mojo back more power to him! Also it's interesting to see Burton make a film so explicitly about kitsch.
This is Burton operating at his most subtle & affecting. The commentary on artistic integrity, complete with digs against the way art is broadly marketed & critiqued, is deeply felt. As is the thematic & stylistic emphasis on the world of 60s kitsch, reminiscent of earlier works by the same director. It loses momentum in the third act, but remains a sensitive look into an abusive relationship, brilliantly performed.
walter was a disgusting mfucker, a self-absorbed prick or just a poor mentally ill sad man. either way this a disturbing story about abuse of power vs. the powerlessness a woman was cursed to live with. watching margaret fading away as walter rose to the top was heartbreaking. anyway, some scenes deserved a deeper approach, not the 'supposed to be funny' performances given by waltz. but this story deserved better.