Its not what you think it is about. *Spoilers ahead.
Its 20 years since Eyes Wide Shut released. Featuring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman who were in their prime of being great actors in Hollywood while also being married to each other. Stanley Kubrick’s last film and the most debated, controversial one. You know he leaves you to interpret it as you wish.
The movie got a lot of attention and continues to derive attention because of the orgy scene or a revelation into the Illuminati society as many think or that it was a sexual fest with no ending in the sight. This has people debating even today. People even wondered the point of going to all lengths in the film and yet Tom never gets laid in the film. Speculation has that it was what got Stanley Kubrick got killed once the final cut of the movie was made because he came close to showcasing that the Illuminati society does exist.
Regardless of what the movie got known for and the speculation of what Kubrick was really showcasing in the movie; it became clear to me as to what was the crux of the story. It is the power of a female and the powerlessness of a man. The narrative takes a huge expanse to show us the fragility and dejection of the man here, Dr Bill Hartford. The focus actually does not shift from the fact that the woman here becomes increasingly vocal about her dreams and the fact that her husband really does not mean that much to her. It is in her expressing herself to her husband and the way the husband takes in everything that she says; is where is hidden relevance of culture misappropriation, the Adam and Eve story, the Holy Grail and what not.
The world order has taken great effort to keep the pride of gender power games with wars, power games, religious ideologies, patriarchy, shaming everything that can keep women happy to establish the superiority of the male. And why was such an effort taken across ages. Maybe because something may not naturally be so. Eventually the female holds a power over this established one in such a subtle ways that the male ego shatters at words tossed or questions asked.
In every man woman relationship, once the romance has given way to reality there comes a point just like the one that Kubrick revolves his story on where a man and a woman confess their truest selves. That exact point is something I have witnessed in relationships where you now know your mate yet you are trying to scrap something exciting in him/her to appease your senses. The question of what do you feel about other opposite genders flirting with you or what goes in their minds. I would love to give a reference of another movie here, ‘Gone Girl’ … “What are you thinking?”
As she is challenged by her husband on a harmless argument she goes way beyond to clarify just what she wishes men knew. There is a stress on two things in this pivotal scene, ‘One is millions of years of evolution’ and secondly ‘If only you men knew’. What she confesses is something that possibly could have, would have happened and what she felt during that moment. It is also something we hear and let go but not Bill Hartford. The fragility of that moment lingers on and we see the male desperately trying to seek validation for himself across the film.
I would rate this by far the best role ever played on the screen by a male actor and Tom Cruise submits effectively. To showcase the vulnerability of a man on screen and through a character is so tough for a man. And yet this same point that Kubrick tries to make will eventually hold true beyond the film as I would guess. It leads to Cruise and Kidman separation and Tom Cruise never experiments far beyond his comfort zone of acting spectrum again. Aaah the beauty that is Stanley Kubrick.
It is undeniably a masterpiece of a film. Everything else is secondary. The Secret society, the orgy, the dance of reality and imagination, the suspense of the consequential situations. They were all created to keep us focused on the determination and retaliation and submission of the male character. It never leaves that spectrum for even one second. His melancholia at dealing with his own insecurities and his ultimate breakdown to go back to the comfort of what he already has is a such a beautiful graph. The film, with no offence meant, poetically showcases the helplessness and powerlessness of a male as he tries to rise above the female. Its like a mockery made of everything that this world has tried to do to show how important men are and how dispensable women are. I don’t think any creative piece comes close to this beautiful depiction that Eyes Wide Shut does.
Ultimately that is what it means. Eyes wide shut. You see clearly what is. But do not try to point it out in the open.
“Eyes Wide Shut is based on a 1926 novella. Dream Story explores the sexual ambivalence of a happy marriage and tries to equate the importance of sexual dreams and might-have-beens with reality,” Kubrick said.