Eyes Wide Open (Einaym Pkuhot) (2010)

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A man who acknowledges a side of himself he's kept hidden for decades must decide between love, loyalty, and faith in this drama from filmmaker Haim Tabakman set in Jerusalem. Aaron (Zohar Strauss) is an orthodox Jew in his mid-thirties who helps run a kosher butcher shop opened by his father. Aaron is married to Rivka (Ravit "Tinkerbell" Rozen) and they have four sons, but he often feels something is missing from his life. One day, a 19-year-old yeshiva student, Ezri (Ran Danker), stops by the shop; when Aaron learns Ezri is homeless, he offers to make the youngster his apprentice and gives him a room. Aaron and Ezri strike up a fast friendship, but in time their feelings become deeper, and during a communal bath they act on the desires that have been growing between them. Aaron finds himself torn between his loyalty to his family and his growing love for Ezri, and his dilemma becomes even more pointed when Rabbi Vaisben (Tzahi Grad) asks him to join him in his "Purity Police" group, who pay threatening visits to people in the community who are falling short in the eyes of the congregation. Einaym Pkuhot (aka Eyes Wide Open) was an official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened as part of the "Un Certain Regard" program. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Eyes Wide Open (Einaym Pkuhot)

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (10)

Those interested in viewing a lifestyle they never knew--that of the pious gay--while the acceptance of homosexuality is an issue around the world, will be enlightened by this film.

Jan 12, 2018 | Full Review…
The Atlantic
Top Critic

The unusually subtle yet eloquent debut of Israeli director Haim Tabakman...

Nov 4, 2010 | Rating: 3/4

Slow and often silent, it's an extraordinarily disciplined film that respects, if not honours, the milieu of its story...

May 13, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Eschews sentimentality and pathos, instead letting body language and the dusty, gloomy streets of Jerusalem shape the story.

Feb 5, 2010 | Full Review…

It moves slowly and patiently through the ordeal of a single soul, illuminating in the process a cosmos of intense and hidden feeling.

Feb 5, 2010 | Rating: 4.5/5

Quiet, sober and tense, the movie makes some interesting points, but it lacks the emotional firepower of Brokeback Mountain.

Feb 5, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Eyes Wide Open (Einaym Pkuhot)

A simple, powerful and intense Israeli drama about desire versus religious faith in Jerusalem, presenting an extremely engaging forbidden love story between two orthodox Jewish men whose profound feelings for each other grow incredibly real.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Eyes Wide Open is my official introduction to Israeli cinema and I must say it's a weak start. While the film which is a directorial debut is well organized, it's to pessimistic. I felt like I was a watching a holocaust movie for Gods sake. The opening scene showed two depressing men in a gloomy raining setting, the whole film continued like that. It was a drama queen, and not a particularly entertaining one. As a drama it tried to hard to make the audience depressed, and based on the critical reception it worked, I didn't suck into it though.

Daniel Dolgin
Daniel Dolgin

Super Reviewer

"We cannot go on like this. I have a wife, family, children." "And I have only you." Subtle, downplayed drama with more than a passing resemblance to Brokeback Mountain both in terms of its slow pace and constant tone and its content, Eyes Wide Open shines a light on a subject that does not got enough attention. Haim Tabakman's direction is assured, frequently inventive (there's one especially brilliant shot involving the reflections from a passing van) but never 'showy', allowing the characters to 'breathe' and the story to flow naturally. Often bleak and occasionally funny, there are no happy endings; hardly surprising given the awful life homosexuals have to live in the Jewish Orthodox community. A very apt title, to boot.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

A movie about homosexuals in an orthodox Jewish environment sounds like something that could go horribly wrong, but we're lucky, Eyes Wide Open pulls it off as is lovely little movie. The movie is lighthearted without neglecting realism or bordering on silly but also serious without becoming too hard to digest. The overall style of the film is subtle and observational, so expect no Brokeback Mountain tearjerkers or quirky gayness as in Philip Morris. Instead, we are granted a look inside a tightly (too tightly) knit community where those who strain from the path are cast out. The film relies on the viewer drawing his own conclusions when it comes to the emotional states of the actors. In line with the core concept of keeping up appearances, it is hard to look behind the emotional facades of the protagonists, despite the internal struggle being aptly portrayed by both actors to a very good extent. My respect goes out for addressing the issue alone, but on top of that, Eyes Wide Open is an impressive and enjoyable piece of film-making.

Henrik Schunk
Henrik Schunk

Super Reviewer

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