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Why Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut is not your typical Christmas or New Year film

Eyes Wide Shut, released in 1999, starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (then a married couple) as a couple in the film

Shaheen Irani
Dec 26, 2021
cover image
Eyes Wide Shut - Tom Cruise.

Eyes Wide Shut, as much as it is a Christmas film, is not your typical New Year or Christmas movie. Even though it has a ray of hope, that too, is very little. Nonetheless, the concept and characters made Eyes Wide Shut one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all times and rightly so. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman bared it all on the screen and for the screen. They pushed the boundaries and let go of their privacy to portray a married couple even on screen, all for Eyes Wide Shut.

Here's why the movie is not your typical Christmas or New Year film and yet, it is a good watch for those who appreciate art...

How married couples behave before going to parties

Most married couples with private bedrooms have no shame in changing clothes in front of their partners and rightly so. After all, comfort over everything. Eyes Wide Shut begins on the note that Dr. Bill Halford (Tom Cruise) has no time to glance at his wife no matter how beautiful and sexy she is, while Alice (Nicole Kidman) could be sitting on the toilet stool and ask him to check her dress.

Throws failure at your face subtly

Bill meets his college buddy Nick Nightingale, who is a medical college dropout. As soon as the two catch up, Nick is called over. This shows the difference between the two - where one (Bill) is called to a party while Nick (Todd Field) is called over because he has to work an unstable job.

It helps you look at marriage and relationships from newer perspectives

Victor Zielger (Sydney Pollack)'s Hungarian guest is a flamboyant old man who makes his move on literally any woman he likes. According to the ideology of the film, it is one of the perks of being wealthy. Thus, he makes a move on Alice, who is already suffering in the marriage. He describes relationships and marriage in a completely different light - one where both the parties keep up the deception. This is explored in depth in the movie but there couldn't be a better build-up to what was about to happen.

Bill is the magician you need in life

Being a doctor, Bill performs magic. He brings the unconscious back to life. Bill also manages to bring his own life back on track, which, to be honest, needs as much an amount of magic.

The different worlds of Bill and Alice

Bill and Alice come from two completely different worlds. While Bill has stayed loyal to his wife even when he gets a lot of opportunities, she has thought about ditching him more than once. While he is very secured about their relationship, she is clearly very insecure. The scene where she converses with Bill one-way, shows just how insecure and hurtful as a person she is. It goes to the extent that it pushes Bill to the edge too.

When life knocks you down, you either knock it down back or rise and shine

There is a very powerful scene featuring Bill. Already traumatized, he is faced with bullies as well, out of the blue. He could either fight them back or ignore it all because he is better than that. Bill being his true self, did the latter.

Make Christmas a time to reconnect with old friends

Bill goes out of his way to support Nick, who is trying to make it on his own. The two reconnected years later, soon after Christmas and while welcoming the New Year.

The secret group

A secret group in masks is introduced. They perform orgies which is a new world for Bill. Of course, seeing his apprehensions, he has to live through a nightmare.

The 'naked' nightmare

The naval officer situation broke the husband and wife apart. While Bill lived a nightmare, Alice had the nightmare which was similar to the situation Bill just painfully lived.

The realization

The minute Bill realizes that the shop giving out costumes on rent has much more happening behind the scenes, is one of the most underrated moments of Eyes Wide Shut. It shows how a father switched to a businessman within not even half a day, giving the viewers a huge hint about how things could come crashing down for Bill soon. Not to forget, his friend Nick is already in danger.

The 'Joker' moment

There is a moment in Eyes Wide Shut which takes you back to Joaquin Phoenix's Joker. It is the revelation made - that he is Batman's half-brother. The revelation was made as Joker was not allowed inside the premises and had to scream from the gate, thus confusing Bruce Wayne. Similarly, Eyes Wide Shut has a moment when Bill gets a letter from the secret group when his suspicions are at the very peak. This builds up for the next moments in the film.

Another shocker and a subtle hint

A girl Bill met happens to sweep the floor from under his feet. Soon after, he reads a newspaper with the headline 'Lucky To Be Alive'. This directly hints at Bill's situation after being at the wrong place, wrong time.

The huge twist

Not everything you see is real in Eyes Wide Shut. It is how the movie's name was derived - because all you have to do is keep your eyes wide shut through everything happening in the film.

The blurred lines of morality

Many characters are too casual about serious things. These characters are closely related to Bill. Whether they are wrong or Bill is wrong for being sensitive, is left up to perspective.

The couple that never uses forever

Alice is sure that forever is not something that is in their hands. She refuses to use the term but assures Bill that she does love him. That is what keeps them going.

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