Eye of the Beholder


Eye of the Beholder

Critics Consensus

Improbable and muddled.



Total Count: 87


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,477
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Eye of the Beholder Photos

Movie Info

Part high-tech spy thriller and part psychological study, Eye of the Beholder was Ewan McGregor's first feature film following his mainstream breakthrough performance in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The Eye (Ewan McGregor) is an agent of the British Secret Service, equipped with the latest in high-tech crime fighting gadgetry and assisted by his indefatigable collegue, Hilary (k.d. lang). The Eye's latest assignment is a surveillance project; the son of a well-known politician has been spending a great deal of money on someone, and they would like to know who and why. A little sleuthing reveals that the mysterious person taking the cash is a woman named Joanna (Ashley Judd), but the trail gets much stickier when the Eye witnesses Joanna pulling a knife and killing the politician's son. Normally, he'd take the shortcut to putting her behind bars, but some time ago he lost contact with his daughter when his wife left him; Joanna reminds the Eye of his daughter, and he's too fascinated with her to bring her to justice. The Eye now follows Joanna obsessively, and discovers that she's also involved with a blind man (Patrick Bergin) and has a history of emotional instability from being abandoned by her father at a young age. Eye of the Beholder was directed by Stephan Elliott, best known for the comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

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k.d. lang
as Hilary
Patrick Bergin
as Alex Leonard
Don Jordan
as Toohey
Maria Revelins
as Ms. Keenan
Russell Yuen
as Federal Agent No. 1
Stephane Levasseur
as Federal Agent No. 2
Al Vandecruys
as Alaskan Federal Agent No. 1
Sam Stone
as Alaskan Federal Agent No. 2
Josa Maule
as Receptionist
Carole Collin
as Secretary
Philip Le Maistre
as gas attendant
Michel Perron
as Fat Businessman
Maria Bircher
as Waitress
Cara Reynolds
as Young Joanna
Leonard Farlinger
as Young Joanna's Father
Jason Baerg
as Gay Man
Donovan Reiter
as Local No. 1
Carl Crevier
as Chauffeur
Garth Gilker
as Airport Guard
Tom Karle
as Fat Man
Thomas Karle
as Fat Man
Louis Negin
as Bartender
Al Clark
as Redneck
Una Kay
as Hilary's Mother
Merlee Shapiro
as Reva Desk Clerk
Vera Miller
as Tea Trolley Lady 1
Nadia Rona
as Tea Trolley Lady 2
Erik Johnson
as Local No. 2
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News & Interviews for Eye of the Beholder

Critic Reviews for Eye of the Beholder

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (22)

  • As misogynistic as anything I've seen in ages, it's tricked up with enough fancy cinematography (by Guy Dufaux) to guarantee it sub-Hitchcockian credentials of the sort that some reviewers eagerly hand out to Brian De Palma.

    Mar 6, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The result is compellingly bonkers.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Remove the directorial flash and filigree, and its narrative would be easier to track.

    Jul 21, 2005
  • It's late January, winter is entrenched, and in the lull between the bounty of Christmas and the renewal of spring, the big screen can sometimes seem barren -- a movable famine.

    Apr 5, 2002 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • In trying to both inflame and indict our morbid curiosity, Elliott fails to make the needed connection between the audience and a peeper who has lost his moral balance.

    May 11, 2001
  • Pointless

    Jan 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Eye of the Beholder

  • Aug 05, 2011
    Directed by Stephen Elliott, Destination Films, 1999, Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd, Patrick Bergin, k.d. Lang and Genevieve Bujold. Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller. Question: Can a man fall in love with a woman that he's never met, spoken to or doesn't even know her real name? Well, in the Eye of the Beholder, they try and answer that question. A friend who knows I adore Ewan McGregor told me about this movie. I hadn't heard of it before and was curious to see it. Alright, I see everything he is in, you all know that by now, right? Anyway, I put it on my Netflix queue a few weeks ago and it arrived on Tuesday. I didn't get a chance to see it that night - although I really, really wanted to. So today before I had to pick up the kids from camp I popped it in. This is a story about redemption, a thriller, and a love story but not necessarily in that order. Yes, I know what it says above but this is what I saw in this film (Eye of the Beholder, people). I saw a man and a woman who are both so alone, scared and with thoughts of such tremendous loss that they might be a little insane. Okay, one might be more insane than the other. But as the story unfolds I don't think either are really crazy - just lonely and trying to gain some stability in their lives. When people see themselves in someone else who has experienced similar tragedies/heartaches/loss it can be a very powerful attraction. Is that love? Perhaps. Or is it something else completely? And can it have a happy ending? Well, I am not going to answer that - you'll just have to see for yourself. I really don't want to give anything away about this movie because it was lovely to see a film that I knew nothing about. But I have to entice you guys, right? Ewan looks cute, of course, and Ashley Judd is quite attractive but what impressed me the most were their performances. How does one portray such sadness, desperation to find something secure or recapture what they lost especially when there isn't a tremendous amount of dialogue? Well, both of the actors did - and did it quite well. Another reason to see this film is that it is untainted with a typical Hollywood ending. That alone would make me see any movie. Lastly, to me, Eye of the Beholder said something about real life - not so much what the characters said but they way they behaved. Behavior is thought to be a reaction of or to something. In acting reaction is the essence of the medium but can be written totally out of whack of real life. They say: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And for the two characters, played by Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd, the force between them, even though they hardly shared many moments together, evoked that law of physics stunningly. There was one song that played when they first met, so to speak, that gave me goosebumps - It is sung by Chrissie Hynde. "I Wish You Love" - and that pretty much sums it all up for me. Here is the song and a really, really good way to do a trailer! Favorite thing: Don't be shocked by this - Ashley Judd. Yes, I still thought he was good! My least favorite thing: In some scenes the costumes for the extras looked like it was supposed to be 1972 not present day. Rating: R Length: 109 minutes Review: 8 out of 10
    Tired of P Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2011
    Curious tale, a cross-country Rear Window if you can imagine that, about a surveillance agent who obsesses about a woman he's tailing. It's s weird but also somehow mesmerizing.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2011
    There is much more than meets the eye with this one, I suspect. A complex psychological thriller as sheltered surveillance agent McGregor grows obsessed with troubled serial killer Judd - about the one thing I can safely say is that this is not a story you've already seen a dozen times before! I can feel myself <i>wanting</i> to like this because the pieces are there - mystery, suspense, voyeurism, intriguing performances, inventive editing & camerawork. However it's just so damn perplexing, I've seen this three times and I still don't understand what it's all about! Apparently the studio execs had a hand in butchering the director's vision which exists somewhere on DVD. I have to give this a passing grade of three stars simply because of the amount of time it has played with my brain instead of being instantly forgettable, such a rare level of engrossment has to be worth something.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2009
    Tries hard but it's going nowhere. The Lives Of Others did it so much better.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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