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Using notebook entries, vivid recollection, and re-created scenes in screenplay format, Raphael paints a portrait as revealing of himself (if not more so) than of Kubrick, and neither man comes across without blemish. Simultaneously self-indulgent, frustrating, and fascinating in its attempt to probe Kubrick's closely guarded psyche (a mission Raphael ultimately fails to accomplish), the book finally reveals--in fragments of sensitive insight--that Kubrick's reputation as a reclusive genius did in fact hide a very complex, intensely intelligent, and surprisingly human being. In one passage Raphael observes that "Stanley was so determined to be aloof and unfeeling that my heart went out to him. Somewhere along the line he was still the kid in the playground who had been no one's first choice to play with." Whether such observations are an accurate representation of Kubrick's personality is beside the point; that Raphael made the observation speaks volumes of both men, and this book is filled with similar revelations.
In addition to offering a privileged look at Kubrick's collaborative process, the book also reveals elusive details about Kubrick the man--pet lover, intellectual challenger, gracious host--and the result is a warmer image of him than that afforded by decades of distant speculation by journalists too willing to perpetuate the "myth" of Kubrick as omnipotent genius. If Raphael's book invites criticism and charges of blatant opportunism (with Kubrick unable to defend himself), it also provides a rare and often fascinating look at an artist who constantly eluded the gaze of outsiders. Raphael takes us inside Kubrick's gated domain, and we're grateful for the visit. If the truth resides somewhere between the protest of Kubrick's family and the insights presented here, we can at least use this book as a guide through previously uncharted territory. --Jeff Shannon
Raphael's book has been the biggest disappointment of the literature I have read to date.
We're left to wonder if they may have worked together better had Raphael not so focused on disassembling, but never actually solving, the Kubrick enigma.
Even though the glimpses aren't at all illuminating, and though the book is short it's still a dull, dull read.
"Eyes Wide Shut" was a disappointment as a movie, let alone a Kubrick movie, but "Eyes Wide Open" is an utterly fascinating chronicle of a brilliant writer's... Read morePublished 14 months ago by watchit
This is a worthwhile read for its rare glimpse into Kubrick's working methods, but ultimately the common criticism of it is true. Read morePublished 18 months ago by David
A very interesting book about a well respected screen writers brief dealings with one of the oicons of cinema (Kubrick). Read morePublished on February 3, 2011 by M. Gibb
I'm not even sure where to begin. I've had interest in reading this book for some time, but finally forced myself after reading Traumnovelle, by Schnitzler (which I loved!). Read morePublished on July 16, 2010 by Jeff
I didn't hate this book, it's interesting as an insider's memoir of the author's brief interaction with the film legend. Being in the business myself, it feels authentic. Read morePublished on November 3, 2008 by Greg Grabianski
If we want to know something about the inflated ego, well, here we have a good opportunity. "Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick" is written by Frederick Raphael. Read morePublished on September 18, 2008 by Rogopag99
While it purports to be a memoir of Stanley Kubrick, this book is most effective in revealing the degree to which a person can grow older without ever growing up. Read morePublished on February 14, 2007 by sucker2005
I just happened to wander onto this site for Raphael's book. It is very gratifying to learn that the majority of your reviewers concur with the Kubrick family's response to this... Read morePublished on December 13, 2005 by Jonathan Finney
Despite that Frederic Raphael wrote this to cash in on the opening of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final (and some believe unfinished) film, it's still a guilty pleasure since it... Read morePublished on October 8, 2003 by N. P. Stathoulopoulos