Is Eyes Wide Shut a Christmas Movie?

Is Eyes Wide Shut a Christmas Movie?

It’s that time of year. Well, it’s a time of year when a lot of things are going on for families. We are all ending another twelve months that have either been a little bit of hardship or, hopefully, mostly joy. With life being so complicated as time goes on, it’s easy for one to look at the movie of the week over on Lifetime or Hallmark and get into the Christmas spirit. You turn your brain off and feel the formulaic feels of this time of year.

Or, if you want to be a bit of a nihilistic rebel about things, pop on Eyes Wide Shut.

Another part of pop culture and society this time of year is that ever since the craze of wondering if Die Hard is a Christmas movie, we also look for other films to put that label on. Films that take place during the holiday season don’t necessarily encapsulate being merry with one another, and there is also occasional violence. It just so happens that for a few years now, Stanley Kubrick’s last film, which stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (the two were married when the film was made), has been getting the label of being a Christmas movie. And in a world full of conspiracy theories, underground societies, and cultural wormholes, it fits perfectly. Just be sure to put the kids to bed after you put the movie on.

Let’s get down to the basics here with Eyes Wide Shut. The plot centers around a New York City doctor named Bill Hartford (Tom Cruise). Bill and his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) seem to have an interesting marriage.

The first act hints that Alice could be easily swayed into being unfaithful as she dances with someone at a high-end New York City party full of her husband’s colleagues. She walks up to the line but never seems to cross it, almost as if she remembers the sanctity of marriage before allowing any further advancements. With this, temptation is everywhere for Bill; his female patients yearn for his affection, and he brushes them off.

Later on in the film, Bill and Alice share a conversation that ends with Alice openly admitting she had fantasized about a man the two of them know. This sent Bill off the deep end and out into the city streets to attempt to have a one-night stand of sorts.

Now, by this point, you’re wondering, What does any of this adultery have to do with Christmas? Well, it doesn’t. But Eyes Wide Shut does take place during Christmas time. The atmosphere of the holiday season is very present. It’s almost like a dream at times. Which is odd because the film does deal with men and women’s sexual fantasies. But in fact, that’s it for the Christmas side of things.

Or, you could look at it like this. Eyes Wide Shut is meant to clash with the ideals of Christmas, thus still kind of making it a Christmas movie. The picture-perfect family, the beauty of the season, and the love a husband and wife have for one another are all ideas that clash with the underbelly of the real world. For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, Bill Hartford makes his way out into the country side of the city after his dispute with his wife. He finds his way into a mansion and has the passcode to enter the party. An event loaded with sex and multiple orgies. Yeah, holiday cheer, right?

His entrance to the party seems like it nearly costs him his life as he returns to his family in fear for what he has done. There’s a chance his decisions on this night cost him his marriage and his health. See, the holidays can be chaos for married couples who have children. There’s toys to buy, stalkings to fill, spouses to attempt to cheat on, and HIV to catch.

However, there’s just no way that Stanley Kubrick, a director who is known for embedding so many hidden messages in his films, was thinking about making a Christmas movie at the end of his life. An old man making an erotic thriller is strange to think about, but that is what Eyes Wide Shut is. It’s a film that examines gender roles in society and decaying marriage. It’s also based on a story by Arthur Schnitzler called Dreamstory.

But don’t let that stop you from putting this one on after the kids have gone to bed on Christmas Eve. There’s an atmosphere to it that is matched maybe only by other Kubrick films. You could look at it however you want—an anti-Christmas movie or a Christmas movie without the holiday cheer. Either way, the clash of ideals is still prevalent, especially in the final scene. A toy store with kids running around, looking thrilled at all the fun around them for the holiday season. And yet there are the Hartfords discussing how to fix their marriage in a calm manner. And of course, it’s the woman who makes the call on how to solve the issue of a man’s screwup.


What do you think of Eyes Wide Shut? Do you agree that it could be a Christmas movie? Let us know in the comments below.

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