Eyes Wide Shut Meaning Movie & Plot Summary

The meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s film “Eyes Wide Shut” will be unraveled by many generations of television viewers. There is so much mysterious and extraordinary, secret and mystical in it. Critics also differ on the idea of ​​a psychological thriller. Even the reality of the events taking place in the picture is often questioned. What is the meaning of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” & What does its title imply?


Successful doctor Bill Harford and his wife Alice come to see Viktor Ziegler. Alice flirts with realtor Sandor Zavost, and Bill flirts with two pretty models.

At home, a dispute arises between spouses about flirting and infidelity. To make her husband jealous, Alice talks about her recent infatuation with a young officer. Frustrated, Bill leaves for the call.

He is met by the daughter of a deceased patient, Marian. The girl confesses her secret love for Harward. The hero is in no hurry to return home. Visits the prostitute Domino, but leaves after Alice calls.


Then the hero visits the Sonata cafe, where his friend Nick Nightingale plays the piano. The guy says that he performs at private parties of a secret society, where there are a lot of naked women. Bill asks for a password to enter the event. In the store “Rainbow” he buys a fancy dress.

Harford arrives at the appointed place, gets to the ritual event with orgies. Everyone here is wearing masks. One of the naked women takes Bill aside and warns him of the danger, asking him to leave.

It is interesting! Thriller “Eyes Wide Shut” is included in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest continuous filming period – 400 days.

The main character is brought to the mentor of the sect: he is exposed and may die. He is saved by a girl who offered herself instead of a guest for reprisal. Bill returns home. Alice tells him her strange dream, similar to an orgy scene in a secret society.

In the morning, Bill finds out that Nick is missing. After work, Harford goes to the prostitute Domino. Her friend Sally says the girl has AIDS and may not come back.

The hero notices that he is being followed, enters a cafe. From the newspaper, he learns of the death of Ziegler’s mistress, Amanda Keuren (Mandy), from a drug overdose. He guesses that Mandy is the girl who saved him. Viktor Ziegler reassures the hero and advises him to forget about what happened, so as not to make problems for himself.

Bill finds a mask on his pillow – he cries and tells his wife about everything that happened. Alice invites her husband to be grateful for the ordeal and move on with his life.

Plot Explanation

For more than 20 years, viewers and experts have puzzled over the meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut.


The main theme of the film is the danger of self-discovery. The main characters are a married couple tired of everyday life. They seem to be happy together and love each other. But Ziegler’s party puts the family idyll in doubt. Alice flirts with the realtor, Bill flirts with the models.

The wife arranges a scene of jealousy, suspecting her husband of treason. And the reason for this is not so much the specifics of Bill’s work, but the internal vices hidden by Alice. The heroine projects them onto her husband.

Starting a conversation about betrayal, asking too many questions and telling the story of her sudden love, Alice, without noticing it, starts the mechanism of Bill’s self-discovery. His world turns upside down: he begins to delve into himself and gives himself the right to answer for the mental betrayal of his wife.

On a note! The film “Eyes Wide Shut”, the meaning and plot of which are taken from A. Schnitzler’s novel “The Dream Novella”, is often perceived as a dream or fantasy of the protagonist.


The hero becomes a researcher of the feminine. On the fateful night, he comes across 4 types of women:

  • Marian, who is not free, in love with him – here he takes the place of the officer with whom Alice once fell in love;
  • making love for money Domino;
  • a juvenile pervert, a lover of group sex and part-time daughter of the owner of the store “Rainbow”;
  • secret society slave.

All these women are ready to sleep with him. The hero is also not alien to passion. But every time something stops him. In the case of Marian, her fiancé Carl comes, with Domino – Alice calls, from sex with a naked woman in a mansion he is saved by another participant in orgies.

In fact, the hero is saved by the fear of another world – the world of dangerous uncontrolled love affairs, which is revealed in the central scene with the sect. The retribution for joining the side of the devil appears before him in all its glory – the loss of a family, AIDS, death from a drug overdose. As a result, the hero finds the best option for himself to return home – to a familiar, calm and safe world.

The meaning of the title of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” is that you can live happily only by closing your eyes to many things. If they are wide open, then everything around will begin to crumble. Everyone has their own skeletons in the closet and it’s better not to touch them – that’s what Stanley Kubrick is trying to tell the audience.

Masks and the secret society

Deep meaning in the film “Eyes Wide Open” (1999) carries the image of a mask as a symbol of hiding the true face. In ordinary life, all the heroes wear masks:

  • decent business man – depraved and cruel Mr. Ziegler;
  • a faithful happy wife – unhappy and insecure in her husband Alice;
  • calm balanced loving bride – a nervous admirer of Dr. Marian.

They help people hide their vices and true desires from the outside environment.

The masks, in the literal sense, in the second half of the thriller, help the characters to show their true selves without revealing their identity. This makes it possible for permissiveness and debauchery to flourish.

Ritual societies like the one shown in the film have long existed among the elite. Love intercourse in them is a way to release energy and achieve enlightenment at the highest level. And the sacrifices made, indeed, are often covered up by such common causes as death from a drug overdose or AIDS.

What is the essence of the ending

The meaning of the ending of the drama “Eyes Wide Shut” is in the consent of the characters to live as before. Alice and Bill realized that trying to find out the relationship and reveal the secret sides of each other is detrimental to family well-being. They managed to remain physically faithful to each other. And long-term abstinence after what he saw in a dream and in reality is expressed in a passionate verbal impulse: “There is something very important that we must do as soon as possible – make love.”

The film “Eyes Wide Shut”, the meaning of which is the existence of the dark side of the personality, leaves a double impression. An intriguing plot, beautiful music, talented actors make the drama addictive and alluring. But the neutral ending, the lack of a specific interpretation of the content, confuse the viewer. Only a few repeated viewings will help you understand the meaning of all the details and appreciate the film at its true worth.

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