Tag Archives: Eyes Wide Shut

Noel’s Deep Thought

Joyeux Noel mes amis!

Tonight’s deep thought is brought to you by a semi-tradition I’ve had over the past few Christmas Eves, which is to watch a double-feature of Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) and Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015).


In cinematic language, a close-up of an object or a face is sometimes just a close-up of an object or a face.  Other times, it signifies, “Hey! I’m important narratively, remember you saw me.  I might be the murder weapon, I might be the clue to let you know if some event was all a dream or that someone was lying.”

As I was watching Carol tonight, I interpreted a particular scene differently than I have the previous times I watched it.  The man in this scene makes his first appearance a few minutes prior in what seems like an inconsequential interaction with Rooney Mara.


In many movies, a similar ostensibly “meaningless” exchange between a main character and a random person is just that, but in other films, there are no random persons.  Any character with more than a couple of lines functions like the close-up of an object or a face.  What other films are like Carol in this way?  You think some guy in a scene is there for small talk purposes until the film hints (or you’ve got a hunch), “Oh, that was not-quite-foreshadowing but definitely an important plot point.”


This entry was adapted from a post I’d articulated on my bookface.

Pic creds: IMDB, Amazon