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Open Your Eyes (Abre los ojos) (Permanent Midnight) (1999)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 7

Director Alejandro Amenábar tackles some heady issues with finesse and clarity in Open Your Eyes, a gripping exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

Director Alejandro Amenábar tackles some heady issues with finesse and clarity in Open Your Eyes, a gripping exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 37,722

My Rating

Movie Info

The line between dreams and reality become increasingly blurred after a womanizing playboy is nearly killed by a jilted lover in Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar's masterful sophomore effort Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). It would seem as if Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) has it all. Handsome, charming, and with money to burn, he can get any girl he wants, and usually does so on a nightly basis. Following a birthday party in which he chats up Sofia (Penelope Cruz), the date of his best friend

Dec 18, 2001

Artisan Pictures

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All Critics (55) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (7) | DVD (8)

Even if the script (written by the director and Mateo Gil) and direction are patchy, the obsessive theme is gripping.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is so smart, mischievous and stylish, you'll instantly want to see it again.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you're the type who doesn't mind jigsaw puzzles unassembling themselves as you assemble them, if you enjoy enigmas and don't need explanations, the film just might work for you.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For adventurous filmgoers, though, this Spanish import offers something off the beaten path and a chance to play the coffee-shop game: Could This Screenplay Be Saved?

March 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cumbersome, fantastical plot twists of its last 40 minutes render the whole thing unfathomable.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Amenabar may drop the ball with a surprise happy ending, but the real shock is that when Cesar finally opens his eyes, you feel he's earned it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch had collaborated on a project, the result might have been something like Open Your Eyes."

August 2, 2009 Full Review Source:

The visually stunning product is no less absorbing and haunting, not to mention surprisingly moving.

December 29, 2006 Full Review Source:

Alejandro Amenabar announced himself in the category of the top level of directors working today.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Substantially better than its remake, 'Vanilla Sky'

September 21, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

The original of Vanilla Sky -- more subtle, but not as much fun.

June 15, 2003 | Comments (4)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

See this far superior thriller instead of the lousy remake "Vanilla Sky."

May 29, 2003
Nitrate Online

Amenábar's virtuoso style and connection to the youth audience, both of which are resented by the Spanish film establishment, make him a plausible model outside Spain for a European cinema that bridges the gap between arthouse and mainstream.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Alejandro Amenabar's psychothriller is a dark dish Cruise and Crowe later turned to plain Vanilla.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

A masterpiece.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

It's a puzzling story that dips in and out of reality, but one that is thought provoking and allows us to contemplate to live the dream not the nightmare.

September 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Falls apart about halfway through. Great acting, though.

August 9, 2002
Fantastica Daily

A jigsaw puzzle of passion and lust, desire and pain.

June 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Amenabar, at 25, has created a film that deserves comparison to Hitchcock's best work.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

There is no problem accepting star Eduardo Noriega, an unknown on these shores, saying and doing things that look ridiculous when performed by Cruise.

February 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

One of the most thought-provoking thrillers of recent years, a film that really does challenge its audience's expectations and suppositions at every turn.

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source:

Confirmed my suspicion that Alejandro Amenábar may be the most promising filmmaker under 30.

January 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

Audience Reviews for Open Your Eyes (Abre los ojos) (Permanent Midnight)

Open Your Eyes is a mischievous and confusing fantasy playing with reality. Leading and puzzling, The Hollywood remake Vanilla Sky in 2001 can only dream on imitating the subtle approach to the idea in the original Open Your Eyes. An eye-opener.
September 10, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

This is definately a film one should watch with the American version. Seeing Cruz act in the same script as a different character is very rare. Being able to view the same scenes done with different cinematography is also interesting. The movie is strange and sorrowful in any language.
May 25, 2011

Super Reviewer

Abre los ojos......abre los ojos.... open your your eyes.... This is how the movie begins...

I saw Vanilla sky first so agree that that may have spoilt somewhat the power of Abre Los Ojos, which I believe is a more fly-on-the-wall insight into the film compared to Vanilla Sky.

However, as with any foreign language film, I feel it is almost impossible to entirely "get" the sentiment/meaning of the film unless you can understand/hear it in the original language. I can speak Spanish pretty well but I was unable to pick up any particular memorable quotes, without the aid of the subtitles. (and subtitles can be very loosely translated). For example, I'm not sure "f**k buddy" and "the sweet ain't as sweet without the sour" from Vanilla sky would truly represent the intended meaning if translated to Spanish. Perfect cast for this role. And then there is Penelope Cruz. I knew that she is a great actress...but now I know that she is brilliant. She is so beautiful in this movie you want to die lol And she did a excellent job too. She played fantastic.

Overall, I thought Abre los Ojos was a more gritty and realistic version of the story. Contrastingly, I enjoyed Vanilla Sky because of the pop culture references and the soundtrack and the cheesy Hollywood moments.
June 15, 2010

Super Reviewer

I hadn't realised that Vanilla Sky had been a remake when I'd watched it, but shortly into this film, it became very familiar.

Interestingly Peneleope Cruz plays the same role in both versions of the film and the similarities do not end there, as pretty much the whole film is like for like, just on a smaller scaled budget.

I always find a remake interesting when it originates from a different language.
January 3, 2009

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Abre los ojos (DE)
  • Open Your Eyes (UK)
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