A married, Orthodox, Jerusalem butcher and Jewish father of four falls in love with his handsome, 22-year-old male apprentice, triggering the suspicions of his wife and the disapproval of his Orthodox community.
Aaron (Zohar Shtrauss), a respected butcher and a family man in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, leads a conservative life of community devotion and spiritual dedication. Aaron's life undergoes a series of emotional changes following the arrival of a young apprentice (Ran Danker) to his shop. Consumed with lust, the handsome "Yeshiva" student irreversibly transforms the intricate beliefs in the once-devoted butcher's life - leading Aaron to question his relationships with his wife Rivka (Tinkerbell), children, community, and God.Written by
kirstein-1 / edited by TrivWhiz
Restrain yourself. Restrain yourself. We have an opportunity to rise, to overcome, to fulfill our destiny in this world. This challenge wouldn't have come to us if we couldn't face it.
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When I think of gay cinema, campy titles Too Wong Fu or I Love You Phillip Morris comes to mind, and so I am usually put off the idea of watching. However Eyes Wide Open is something totally different and quite intelligent. Here, life in a Jerusalem community is disrupted by the arrival of a young 'unorthodox' Orthodox Jewish student who proceeds to seduce an older Jewish Orthodox man, who is married with four children. The narrative follows the progress of this conflicted husband coping with what is essentially a midlife crisis, while having to deal with the relationship issues of his neighbor's daughter, whose open 'secret' affair with her boyfriend begins to mirror the problems developing in his own life.
Employing a minimalist feel supported by a soundtrack reminiscent Soderbergh's Solaris and incorporating the use of washed-out colors and stark lighting to convey a bleak realism, Eyes Wide Open's over the top premise is dealt with realistically and intelligently, never once turning the story into a tabloid spectacle. Although a lack of dialog from the main characters makes it difficult for the audience to truly understand their motivation, the story still provides an interesting insight into the moral conflicts some individuals may face, while being true to their family and themselves.
The only beef I have with this film is its 12 rating. There is some full nudity and a sex scene or two, which should have automatically given it a higher rating. Although its tastefully done and not pornographic in the least... it can make for an awkward viewing experience if watched with kids or someone more conservative.
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