The film “Eyes Wide Shut” was the last in the life of its director Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick did not even have time to catch the release of the picture on the screens and did not know that this particular film became the most profitable in his history in cinema.
Like all the films of this director, “Eyes Wide Shut” is not one-sided, one viewing is not enough to understand the meaning of the picture, notice the details and reveal the secret of the story described in the film.
What is Eyes Wide Shut about?
The film tells about the life of spouses who have been married for a long time, and, apparently, it is for this reason that they do not experience passionate feelings for each other. It seems that habit and children keep them close by. Particular attention in the life of the Harford couple is given to their intimate life. Bill is a famous doctor whose services only very wealthy people can afford, Alice is his ideal wife, beautiful, interesting, attractive, a good mother and a skilled lover.
The Harfords look like the perfect family. But is it really so? At the Christmas party, Alice allows herself to flirt on the verge of cheating with a stranger, and Bill spends most of the evening in the company of attractive models. Bill’s leisure is interrupted by an urgent call to the second floor of the mansion, where the party is taking place, from the owner of the evening. He is also a married man, but he spent the evening with a prostitute who was unconscious from an overdose. Actually for this reason, Victor, the owner of the house, calls Bill.
At home, Bill shares with Alice his thoughts that all women are naturally monogamous, which so offends Alice that she provokes her husband by telling erotic fantasies about other men. Bill breaks down and leaves the house all night. During his aimless trips, he meets an old acquaintance, from whom he accidentally learns about a closed orgy party, and considers it necessary to get there.
Meaning of Eyes Wide Shut
In the film “Eyes Wide Shut” many genres are mixed – and a family drama, and an erotic novel, and a detective story, and a psychological thriller.
When Bill is tricked into attending a party he wasn’t invited to, he finds himself in a “faceless” society. This is an allegory for the modern world – in which people are in no hurry to show their real faces, their weaknesses, speak frankly and be sincere and real. At this VIP party, people bare absolutely any part of their body, except for their faces. When the protagonist walks through the rooms of a huge castle, where the action takes place, he sees the most perverse entertainment – men and women are not at all embarrassed by the nakedness of their bodies, but it is impossible to see a single face that is not hidden by a mask.
Kubrick does not open the curtain of secrecy for a millimeter – who are these people at the secret meeting – just rich people who love unusual entertainment, or are they especially privileged people who rule the world in which the simple Bills and Alices live? We don’t even recognize any of the names of those present except Mr. Ziegler. This is the only guest of the club who meets in the real world.
The culmination of both the party and the entire film is the scene in the great hall. This is the scene of exposing Bill as not belonging to this circle of people. It is at these moments that Bill is not just kicked out of the hall in disgrace and forced to return to the real world, where his wife is waiting for him, with whom he does not know how to communicate, he is waiting for a job that he goes to every day and other chores. Before his face, the gates to a new, unknown world are not just slamming shut, but his life is in danger. Bill can die right in this hall – as soon as the main character learns something new and unknown to him before, how can he lose both his connection with this parallel universe and his life.
But lynching ends for Bill quite successfully, the beautiful stranger decides to stand up for the intruder and takes his punishment upon herself. Most likely, this girl was the same prostitute that Bill saved at Victor’s house at the Christmas party. But is there any certainty that she did it out of gratitude? Perhaps the girl was driven by completely different motives – was she tired of the “faceless” world, or was she tired of being a tool for getting pleasure, or at least once in her life she decided to commit an act noble and disinterested? The main character never finds the answer to this question.
The meaning of the film’s ending
The next day, Bill decides to find at least someone from yesterday’s private party, but at the hotel where his acquaintance, who told about the evening, stayed, they report that he has already left the room. And he was accompanied by two men. And then in a recent newspaper, Bill reads that a young girl died at night in her hotel room from a drug overdose. The protagonist is sure that this is the same prostitute who saved his life at night.
When Bill returns home after that day, he sees the mask from that party next to his sleeping wife. This is hardly a reference to the fact that his wife was also present at that evening. This is a signal to Bill to forget the night that should not have been in his life, put on his social mask again and continue to live. His wife tells him the same thing in the final scene – “We should be grateful to fate that our marriage has stood the test.”