Eye of the Beholder
International release poster
Directed byStephan Elliott
Screenplay byStephan Elliott
Based onThe Eye of the Beholder
by Marc Behm
Produced byNicolas Clermont
CinematographyGuy Dufaux
Edited bySue Blainey
Music byMarius de Vries
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 28 August 1999 (1999-08-28) (South Korea)
  • 28 January 2000 (2000-01-28) (United States)
  • 9 June 2000 (2000-06-09) (United Kingdom)
  • 10 August 2000 (2000-08-10) (Australia)
Running time
110 minutes[2]
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
Budget$35 million[3]
Box office$17.6 million[3]

Eye of the Beholder is a 1999 mystery thriller film that employs magical realism. The film, based on Marc Behm's novel of the same name and a remake of Claude Miller's 1983 French thriller Deadly Circuit, is directed and adapted by Stephan Elliott.

Starring Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd, the film is an international co-production of Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.


Stephen Wilson aka "The Eye" (Ewan McGregor) is an intelligence agent whose current assignment is to track down the socialite son of his wealthy boss and find out what trouble he has gotten himself into. This leads him to Joanna Eris (Ashley Judd), a serial killer who is in a relationship with the son, whom she murders. Stephen is a witness to the crime.

At Penn Station in Pittsburgh, Eris commits yet another murder, enabling Stephen to finally corner her as he prepares to call for backup. Instead of turning her in, Stephen follows her in an effort to save her. He hallucinates constantly that his young daughter – whom he hasn't seen since his ex-wife took custody of her – is with him, and comes to think of Eris as a vulnerable, lost child.

Stephen follows her across the country and through several murders. He soon discovers that Eris and her father were very poor and that he had abandoned her, explaining her pathological hatred of men. When Eris helps a rich blind man (Patrick Bergin) in an airport, the two become involved, fall in love and become engaged, and it looks like they might even live a happy life together. Stephen, who has witnessed all of this, is desperate to keep her from killing again. While the couple is on the way to the chapel for the wedding, Stephen shoots out one of their tires and the car crashes, killing Eris' fiancé. Stephen follows a grief-stricken Eris as she takes off for the desert.

A drug addict named Gary (Jason Priestley) picks up Eris when her car dies, and tries to seduce her; when she rebuffs his advances, he beats her unconscious and injects her with heroin so he can rape her while she is unconscious. Stephen arrives just in time to save Eris and gives Gary a thorough beating. Eris loses her unborn baby before fleeing to Alaska, with Stephen on her trail.

In Alaska, Stephen gains the courage to ask out Eris, as he is a frequent patron of the diner at which she waitresses. They have a few drinks in the evening, both getting emotional, and Eris mentions where she would like to be buried when she dies. She then says she has nothing to offer and that he should leave her alone. The next day the police, as well as Eris's psychiatrist (Geneviève Bujold), come to the diner to arrest her. Stephen tries to save her, taking her to his trailer. There she is horrified to find out that he has been following her. She shoots him with Stephen's revolver, although she doesn't realize that he had loaded it with blank cartridges. She flees and he follows her on a motorcycle. He catches up to her, but she crashes her car onto an ice-covered lake, breaking through the ice. He then quickly pulls her out of the car, but she is badly injured. Before she dies in his arms, she tells him, “I wish you love”.



Box office

Despite opening in the United States at number-one during the Super Bowl weekend and grossing $6 million on its opening weekend, Eye of the Beholder was a financial failure in theaters, grossing $16.5 million domestically and $1.1 million internationally for a worldwide total of $17.6 million against a $35 million budget.[3]

Critical response

The film received largely negative reviews, with critics panning the improbable and muddled plot, as well as Elliott's direction.[4][5][6] On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 9% based on 88 reviews, with an average score of 3.4/10. The site's consensus simply reads: "Improbable and muddled."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a 29/100 rating based on reviews from 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[8] CinemaScore gave it a rating of "F" based on surveys from general audiences. It is notable for being the first film in over fifteen years since Bolero to receive that grade.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Judd joins McGregor in 'Eye'". 18 December 1997.
  2. ^ "EYE OF THE BEHOLDER (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Eye of the Beholder". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  4. ^ Travers, Peter (28 January 2000). "Eye of the Beholder". The Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  5. ^ "'Eye of the Beholder': She's a Real Killer, and He's Smitten". www.nytimes.com.
  6. ^ Major, Wade (28 January 2000). "Eye of the Beholder". BoxOffice. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Eye of the Beholder (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 6 October 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  8. ^ "Eye of the Beholder Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  9. ^ Dowd, A. A.; Rife, Katie (3 April 2020). "Is an "F" from CinemaScore Actually a Good Thing? Our Critics Weigh In". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  10. ^ Kevin Lincoln (20 September 2017). "What the 19 Movies to Ever Receive an 'F' CinemaScore Have in Common". www.vulture.com.