We struggle to find each other after a marriage has grown long in the tooth. This couple has grown apart and they don't even realize they have. They don't even see it as their eyes are shut so tight.
In his reality, Bill is searching for the days of his youth before marriage because he wanted physical sex and got lost in a charade of sexual fantasy. In the end, you find his wife was always able to have those same fantasies, but never tried to live them out because she was even more deeply engaged in them in her mind.
I think it's fairly obvious that the main theme of Eyes Wide Shut is not that of sex or seduction- even if it is a theme and common recurrence during Bill's odyssey, but deception, secrets and above all- power being the main themes.
I must say that I've watched this three times- the first I was really underwhelmed, I vehemently tried to like it which I think might have been the reason I didn't like it at first because there was no plot, I thought the Russian guy subplot was completely useless and that none of the characters were likable.
I'd never gone into a Kubrick film which I didn't like on my first viewing and since he's my favourite director, was quite shocked at both my reaction and the film itself.
In fact, to my shame- as a straight male, one of the most positive things I got from it was the women from my first viewing because of the explicitness of them.
About two months later, I decided to re-watch it and thought it was 5x a better film.
I thought Tom Cruise's character and acting was very good, I thought the story was better paced on my second viewing and most of all, I thought the lighting and camera were very well done/stood out.
Still nagging at me though was how Kubrick could state this was his most personal favourite film.
I made a checklist in my head as to why:
1. Lots of women
2. Dream-like atmosphere to it (I know he loved Eraserhead which I didn't like)
3. Powerful statement about the occult
4. Set in his hometown New York City
But something was off about it, why was the odyssey filled with so many dead ends of subplots?
And what was the point of the story?
On my third viewing, I haven't answered those questions fully but I have a theory.
I've come to the conclusion that Tom Cruise is a humorous representation of Stanley Kubrick from the 1950s-early 60s and Nicole Kidman is Christiane Kubrick. The two girls Cruise, Bill or Stanley is walking with represent his two previous wives, Ruth and Toba.
The older man Nicole, Alice or Christiane dances with is her ex-husband.
I think it is a deeply personal film.
After all, Bill is a physician, Stanley's father's occupation which he would've known a bit about and if Bill was a filmmaker, it'd be too obvious.
Even Christiane- an artist, is portrayed by Kidman as an art curator.
Since Kubrick has stated numerous times that he distrusts almost all authority and moved suddenly to the UK in the early 60s after feeling disillusionment with the Hollywood studio system, I think its fair to assume he found out in some way about the occult or the elite and this film is a reflection of that occurrence. It's just a theory, but an interesting one. After all, after submitting the final cut of the film, just four days later Kubrick died suddenly of heart failure with no indication beforehand of previous symptoms (poisoned?)
Eyes Wide Shut remains a mystifying film and whilst I would not rate it as high as I would give 2001, Barry Lyndon or Dr Strangelove, I think its interesting and a solid film: 7/10.
He clearly wished to expose the rituals that secret society's, like the Illuminati, are involved in. The powerful and influential. The character development all revolved around that realization and the "Do as thou wilt" teachings of Aleister Crowley. Kubrick was a genius in that he was able to tell 2 stories in 1 film. One story for people who take it at face value, who are uninitiated into the knowledge that he's trying to convey and another story for those who understand the current state of the world and the secret workings of it. You see him attempt to convey these encoded messages in every film that he makes. Eyes Wide Shut especially. A Clockwork Orange and 2001 are also perfect examples of this. He was no ordinary director. He was desperately trying to tell the public something.
I think the central theme of the movie was "If you ever go looking for your heart's desire-don't look any further than your own backyard."or something to that affect. I actually have seen this movie several times and find it long, confusing at times and very hard to sit through. I couldn't connect, sympathize or empathize with any of the characters in the film. They seemed pretty one dimensional. I know Stanley Kubrick has been touted as a cinematic genius since the 1960's but honestly, I failed to see any genius here. I saw the film in the theater when it opened and at the end of the film I turned to my spouse and asked, "What the hell was that about?" Someone asked me what my opinion of the film was and I said, "Everyone says what a genius Kubrick is. I find that it's kind of like the children's story The Emperor's New Clothes. The emperor in the story is naked but everyone (not wanting to seem unworthy) goes on about how wonderful his new clothes are. Take it from me because I assure you I am worthy of my station in life--the emperor is naked!
I have seen this movie several times. I don't know the meaning because I don't know what happened. Was Alice at the orgy? I ask that because of her very detailed dream. Was the mask placed in the bed like in the "Godfather" or did Alice place it there saying that she knows something? Did Dr. Bill accuse Alice of infidelity in the last scene and if not what did his last statement mean?
Can sex be complex? Can it be something that we regret, something we wished we never did? Now what if the one you love the most tells you that they wished they werebin bed with someone else and how they wished the other person's body was touching theirs?
Eyes wide shut deals with such a sitution. Dr William"Bill" Harford(Tom Cruise) is happily married to Alice Harford(Nicole Kidman). One night during a party a Lothario hits on Alice and they share a dance, while William is entertained by two models. The next night Alice out of curiosity ask Bill weather he was jealous of her dancing with an other person. On him saying no she reveals her most erotic fantacy to him, wherein she wished she was in bed with some stranger she laid eyes on during a trip with Bill. What follows is a night of sexual urges for Bill.This sets him off into unfulfilled encounters with a dead patient's daughter and a hooker. But when he visits a nightclub, where a pianist friend Nick Nightingale is playing, he learns about a secret sexual group and decides to attend one of their congregations. However, he quickly learns he is in well over his head and finds he and his family are threatened.
Tom Cruise as Dr William Harvar a.k.a Bill, is simply magnificient. He deals his complex character with panache.
Kubrick presents sex and nudity in a manner that is more disturbing than erotic. The underlying current of uncertainty and danger lends an unsettled aura to the most explicit scenes. The first time we see a nude woman, she is lying sprawled in a chair, having overdosed on drugs. Later, when Bill and Alice are engaging in foreplay, she is clearly abstracted. And, during the soon-to-be infamous orgy sequence, all of the participants are masked and many are wearing sinister costumes that consist of hooded, black capes and tuxedos. This entire portion of the film has a gothic feel to it.
The music in Eyes Wide Shut is singularly effective. In fact, this may represent the best use of a soundtrack in any of Kubrick's films. Jocelyn Pook's compositions re-enforce the tone of every scene in which they are employed. And, while several of the pieces used here are lush, orchestral numbers, those that create the strongest impression are the simple, discordant ones designed for the piano. As John Carpenter proved in Halloween, complexity is not always necessary to set the proper mood.
For those who are pure movie lovers this movie is a must for you. Put on your thinking caps and watch this movie as it will not let you down.