Eyes Wide Open

"Extraordinary"

Eyes Wide Open Review


It's almost impossible to imagine anyone making a gay romance between two orthodox Jews. And yet this film is subtle and sensitive, and full of earthy honesty as it explores a seriously difficult situation.

Aaron (Strauss) is a well-respected orthodox butcher in Jerusalem, with a wife (Tinkerbell) and four young children. But locals start to question him when he hires a young stranger, Ezri (Danker), as his assistant. A gifted sketch artist, Ezri is quite clearly "different", and rumours start swirling. The problem is that Aaron is deeply attracted to Ezri, and finds himself struggling to continue suppressing his sexuality. But tension between them grows and, after their first kiss, Aaron knows life will never be the same.

The filmmakers tell this story with minimal dialog and tiny details that express the relationship in involving ways. Without exploiting the controversial premise, they create an honesty and complexity we rarely see on screen. Every element of this society gets a fair portrayal, from Aaron's quietly suspicious wife to the range of people around them, from understanding to disappointed to violent. And the performances are raw and natural, revealing sharp humour and layers of personality.

We really come to understand how these people live--their commitment to work, study, prayer, family and community--and how this gay relationship is seen as a threat to all of that. As the tension grows both between and around these two men, the characters become even deeper and more engaging, and their interaction sparks with real power.

There's also a real sense of the collision between religion and sexuality in the question of why God created lust. Older people believe lust exists to make us stronger when we resist; younger ones think it's part of who we are as humans. There's also the question of whether sin exists to help us become more righteous when we learn the lessons. And of course the key issue: what good is orthodoxy if you can't actually live?

Yes, this is potent material, but it's beautifully shot and edited to centre on the characters themselves, never becoming preachy, flashy or sentimental. It's a thoughtful exploration of the confusion, pain and, yes, joy that comes from conflict. And it challenges us to think deeply rather than just take someone else's word for it.



Eyes Wide Open

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd September 2009

Distributed by: Regent Releasing

Production compaines: Field Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Haim Tabakman

Producer: David C. Barrot, Rafael Katz

Starring: Lindsay Carr as Debbie, Gary Croome as Mark, Anthony Straeger as Milkman, John Tordoff as Neighbour

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.