Dealing with the issue of homosexuality in the Orthodox Community, Eyes Wide Open tells the story of Aaron Fleishman (Zohar Strauss) who is a respected butcher and family man. Together with his wife Rivka, (Tinkerbell) he is a father of four who takes over the family kosher butcher shop following the death of his father. Aaron’s world is disturbed with the arrival of a young and homeless yeshiva student Ezri (Ran Danker). Ezri visits the shop in order to use the telephone. Aaron offers to let Ezri stay in the shop and takes him on as an apprentice, encouraging him in his studies and his drawing talents.
Aaron begins to question his relationship with his wife, children, the community and God and begins a sexual relationship with Ezri. When Aaron and Ezri begin spending time together, the Orthodox community are quick to ostracise him. When the Rabbi Vaisben (Tzahi Grad) confronts Aaron, warning him away from Ezri, Aaron tells him that he was dead before meeting Ezri.
The community start to circulate flyers which prompt a boycott of Aaron’s shop. Ezri is attacked by some locals and although Aaron sees the attack, he does nothing to help Ezri and Ezri is eventually forced to leave.
“Its scrupulous, humane sympathy gives this small, sorrowful film a glow of insight and a pulse of genuine, openhearted curiosity.”
— A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Quietly devastating picture reps a natural draw for gay, Jewish-interest and upscale audiences.”
— Alissa Simon, Variety
“Mostly, though, it wins with excellent performances: Strauss never overplays his character’s internal tension, nor does Danker camp up his youthful virility.”
— Vadim Rizov, Village Voice
Did You Know?
Eyes Wide Open was Haim Tabakman’s directorial debut and the film was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Although Eyes Wide Open was scripted, many of the scenes were improvised. Review our Gay Themed Films Here