Eyes Wide Shut

  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 159 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Disturbing and completely inappropriate for kids.
  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 159 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the characters in this film engage in what is commonly considered deviant social behavior (e.g. drug use, sex with prostitutes, adultery). Some even openly encourage such behavior. The consequences for engaging in such behavior only falls upon prostitutes.

Not applicable

Female full frontal nudity, numerous sex scenes, an orgy scene, implied teenage prostitution.


Frequent use of all major curse words.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, drug overdose, marijuana use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a very adult film, with rampant female nudity, scenes that border on soft-core pornography, and a very mature treatment of the standard themes of jealousy and infidelity. All women are naked at some point, and (except for Alice) are junkies, prostitutes, or both. People abuse alcohol and marijuana. One character pimps his young teenage daughter.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The story of Dr. William Harford (Tom Cruise) begins after he and his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) have a discussion about love, desire, and fidelity. After Alice admits that she had thought about other men, William is floored by her admission and embarks on an adventure that is driven by jealousy-fueled visions of his wife having sex with another man. William encounters a world of sexual desire and betrayal that grossly outweighs his own as he finds himself surrounded by the dire consequences of unchecked sexual desire.

Is it any good?


Director Stanley Kubrick handles all of this with his trademark visual power, and like most of his films, this one is beautiful to watch for its elegance and style. Unfortunately, the dialogue can be a bit stilted, which doesn't help Cruise, who gives his usual stiff performance. On the flipside, Kidman and a host of secondary character actors come shining through enough to somewhat help save the film. Despite the few positives, Kubrick's treatment of women in this film is abhorrent, and the movie should not be watched by children.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the reaction of the main character, Dr. William Harford, to his wife's admission about a sexual fantasy that she once had about another man. Was his reaction justified? What alternative, perhaps even more productive, course of action could he have taken to deal with how he was feeling? Viewers could also talk about the representation of women in this film. Is it acceptable?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 16, 1999
DVD release date:March 14, 2000
Cast:Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Tom Cruise
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:159 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong sexual content; nudity; language; drug usage

This review of Eyes Wide Shut was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byB-KMastah June 22, 2013

Kubrick's most underrated, and actually, one of his best.

Firstly, this film is not misogynistic. It's told from a man's view in a dreamlike state, and think about it. Prostitutes are usually females, and the sad truth is, females are the ones more commonly objectified. This film is truly amazing. Firstly, the pacing is immaculate. It's well over two and a half hours, yet I was not once bored. The direction is incredible, balancing surreal imagery, simplistic yet disturbing music, and a deeply layered philosophical message. Its metaphors overpower the film considering the film is largely conveying a dream-like state, and within said dreamlike state, it weaves in many characters — several who at first appear to be expendable — and great, simple set pieces. While there are the beautiful and almost scary walks through New York City, there is the ritual scene. Wow. This scene has unbearable tension. The music combined with the choreography brings me to shivers and leaves me in awe. The orgy scene is warranted; the sex is dehumanized and actually really disturbing, what with the eerie score and creepy masks. The content is contextual and is in no way meant to arouse, only disturb. And that it does, keeping the audience in awe. It stays with you after viewing the film, and actually stays great upon several viewings due to its metaphors and many layers. Ultimately, lust is frowned upon and the holes of jealously in a seemingly nice marriage are explored, hence the title Eyes Wide Shut.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byjohnwi312 December 27, 2009

Not shy about sex. No kids allowed (but older teens can handle it).

Extremely sexually graphic, especially in the unrated version. Very frank about nudity and sex, although much of it is more creepy/cold than erotic. Not at all for kids or young teenagers, although some teens 15 and older can watch this and appreciate it. A perfectly made Kubrick masterpiece - intelligent, creepy, hypnotic, and mysterious. Underrated!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares January 28, 2009


Eyes Wide Shut is not the pornographic nonsense so many others think it is. It is a slow-paced, dreamlike sequence of sexual fantasies. I understand why people hate it, though. Women will clearly be offended by their treatment in the film. Though I'm sure if the story was rversed (that is, told from a woman's perspective), women wouldn't have the same feeling, nd men would feel offended by being dropped down from the leadership and pimp-like position they fancy they automatically have. I will agree it is not for children at all, though.


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