Hear me out.
Eyes Wide Shut is legit a Christmas movie. This can be easy to forget, competing with ritualistic orgies and all that. But, yes, this erotic noir is set during the Christmas season. The inciting incident starts at a lavish Christmas party the two main characters, Bill and Alice, have to attend. Christmas trees and lights are practically a character of their own, showing up with lush, diffuse colors, bleeding out into the seedy, carnal scenes around them. The final resolution takes place in a decked out department store where Bill and Alice take their daughter Christmas shopping.
Eyes Wide Shut is a dark, risqué picaresque-like story, giving it this vintage, Dickensian vibe. Its long, nearly three hours, and slow-paced, so it’s perfect for vegging after a hectic holiday. Winter is the time for hunkering down, hibernating, and there are worse ways to spend a long cold night than curling up with some hot chocolate and watching Tom Cruise wander the streets of New York City, venturing deeper and deeper into a sexy, dangerous underworld.
It also really appeals to my dark and twisted side to watch a movie that’s set during Christmas, yet is so un-Christmasy in the themes and subject matter. It’s all so comforting. Comforting in its contrast and irony. A metaphorical FU to all the saccharine holiday cheer. This time of the year can be really hard for a lot of people, whether they’ve experienced a significant loss, have a toxic relationship with their family, or find themselves alone. Watching two beautiful people whose unspoken discontent and jealousy are exacerbated by one of those obligatory holiday parties and then almost blowing up their marriage is a balm to the soul.
There’s so much to look forward to every year with Eyes Wide Shut.
A full circle journey.
Dramatic, single key piano music.
Overblown Christmas lights.
Nicole Kidman wearing the hell out of a white cami and high cut briefs—seriously, who needs lingerie—and looking way too good for her husband to be out trolling the streets on her.
Those creepy ass masks.
Tom Cruise getting increasingly freaked out and breaking down in tears.
Which is actually what happens to a lot of us during this time of year.
What are some of your wacky holiday viewing traditions?