Julia’s Eyes is a Spanish Thriller (Los ojos de julia) directed by Guillem Morales. It sees Belén Rueda in the lead role. The story revolves around a lady with degenerative vision condition who’s trying to get to the bottom of the death of her twin sister. The thriller is quite gripping but does leave a few threads open. Do give it a watch. Without further ado, let’s get to the plot. Here’s Julia’s Eyes explained. Spoilers Ahead.
Let’s take it from the top.
Who are Julia and Sara? What’s up with their eyes?
Sara and Julia are twin sisters (played by Belén). Based on events and dialogues in the film, we’re shown that they weren’t too close. Sara and Julia are both suffering from a condition of degenerative vision. This means that slowly, both of them are losing their eyesight. Stress aggravates it. Sara’s condition is worse than Julia’s as Sara has been blind for a year. Sara has found a donor and will soon be operated. Julia, too, is looking for a donor but hasn’t found one and is not in as much need as Sara is.
Who is Isaac? What’s his deal?
Isaac is Julia’s husband. He has been having an affair with Sara. Julia knows about a one-time fling that the two had in the past but she doesn’t know that the affair continued on. Isaac loves Julia and has written himself as the eye donor for Julia. Remember, Isaac is not having an affair because of Julia’s vision loss. Sara is blind. We aren’t given further details around the affair as it’s not central to the plot.
Who is Mrs. Soledad?
Near Sara’s place lives an old woman – Mrs Soledad. She has a son by the name of Ángel. He’s an odd kid. Soledad’s husband couldn’t stand him. Soledad claims that her husband left her one fine day and her son took care of her after for 10 years. After that, her son also abandons her. I’m going to speculate here. This is what I think happened. Ángel’s mutual hatred for his father grew and eventually it lead to Ángel killing his father. Soledad fakes blindness to protect her son. She comes up with a story that her husband left her because of the blindness. The authorities believe her. Ángel believes his mother is blind too and takes care of her for 10 years. Ángel grows up believing that without his mother he would be nothing, he’d be invisible.
Who is the Invisible Man? How is he invisible?
Ángel is the Invisible Man. Ok, let’s get one thing straight here. Ángel is NOT invisible. It is only a metaphor. Ángel grows up with extremely low self-esteem. He’s a nobody. No friends. No one to talk to. No one notices him when he’s around because he’s not worth noticing. This is not a supernatural plot. Ángel is a regular human but just someone who people don’t consider worth noticing. Over time Ángel has developed the ability to be stealthy and stalk victims efficiently.
How does Sara die?
Sara has been blind for a year. She’s been having an affair with Isaac. Eventually, they find a donor. Sara gets operated. All this time Ángel has been stalking Sara. Ángel finds comfort in blind girls because only they can really “see” him. Sara tells her other blind friends at a Centre For The Blind that she’s been dating someone. A young person. Once she has her eyes operated, she goes with Ángel to a Hotel called Bellavista for a week. At this point she has her eyes bandaged. We are not told what circumstances she meets with Ángel. Perhaps he was posing as her caretaker and his empathy was winning Sara over. At the hotel, a waiter happens to talk to Sara about her bandage but doesn’t really notice anything about Ángel who is with her. Ángel doesn’t want Sara getting her eyesight back. He ensures that he sneaks up on Sara in the nights and injects her eyes with chemicals that destroy the optic nerve. Sara thinks these are nightmares. The doctor declares that the operation has failed. Sara gets to know that someone is following her but people dismiss it as a nightmare. She’s vexed with her life and wants to end it. But she doesn’t want to give the pleasure of witnessing her suicide to this invisible person. This is where the movie begins. Sara thinks she’s alone in her basement and proceeds to put the noose around her neck. She suspects the invisible man witnessing this. Before she can remove her noose, Ángel kicks the stool and watches Sara die. The authorities can’t sense any foul play and close the case as a suicide.
Julia doesn’t know about the operation and it’s failure. Isaac is waiting for a suitable moment to tell her. Julia gets suspicious about Sara’s death. Isaac asks Julia to not take on the stress as it would make her go blind. At Sara’s funeral, they are greeted by a man named Blasco who is Sara’s neighbor. He says his shy daughter, Lia, was close to Sara and was very upset. He gives flowers and leaves. After this Julia tells herself that she forgave Sara and Isaac for that fling they once had. She thinks it is Isaac who has his hands on her back but she sees Isaac far in the distance. When she turns around there is no one. This hand on her back was Ángel’s. Julia is now convinced that Sara’s death was not a suicide.
Julia talks with Mrs. Soledad and finds out about the Centre For Blind People. She goes there and overhears a group of blind women talking about Sara going to Hotel Bellavista with a boyfriend. After Julia identifies herself, the blind women point out that she’s being followed (they find his presence because of their sharp ability to smell). She chases him down but loses him. She loses a bit more of her vision. Julia later meets Isaac and tells him about the invisible man. Isaac is only worried about Julia’s eyes at this point. Julia lies by saying she wants to go out somewhere for a break. She picks Hotel Bellavista. She tries to find out details of the man who was with Sara at the hotel. There is nothing in the records. Ángel seems to have somehow deleted this information. At the restaurant, the waiter who met Sera talks to Julia mistaking her to be Sara. The waiter, too, is unable to remember any details about the man Sara was with. Julia tells Isaac that Sara was at the hotel last week. She explains that Sara had her eyes bandaged. This meant that she was going to get her vision back. Hence the suicide looks suspicious. Isaac says that Sara’s operation failed. Isaac concludes that Sara killed herself because she couldn’t stand being blind. Julia is upset and she leaves. Isaac consoles her and also realizes that Julia has lost most of her sight.
The janitor in the hotel hands Julia a set of keys saying it was in Sara’s room a week ago. These keys belong to Ángel. It unlocks one of the rooms in his house. Julia keeps it assuming that it’s Sara’s keys. The janitor then explains that the man Sara was with was a man with “no light”. Again, this is metaphorical. He explains that he too is one such person. No one pays attention to him. Even if he’s asking someone a question they don’t bother replying. A completely nobody who no one cares for. The janitor says that the Invisible Man parked his car in the nearby carpark and the surveillance camera would have captured his image. Isaac is annoyed that Julia won’t stop investigating. He goes in to get the surveillance footage and states that after this Julia must stop.
Ángel cuts the power to the place and steals the surveillance storage. He also abducts Isaac. Julia has no clue what has happened but she guesses that Isaac is in trouble. Julia and the cops go back to the hotel to meet the janitor. Ángel by then has killed off the janitor by dropping an overhanging bulb into his bathtub. He makes it look like an accident. Julia later meets Mrs. Soledad to find that both her husband and son have left her after her blindness. Soledad is lying.
They get news that a patrol drove by Sara’s place and they saw a light inside. They go over to her place and search. Julia goes to the basement and the cop goes upstairs. He finds a suicide note from Isaac saying that he was having an affair with Sara and is unable to live on now that she’s gone. In the basement, Julia finds a body handing she begins to scream, the cop comes down and we’re shown that it is Isaac hanging from the same place Sara was found dead.
How did Isaac die?
While the suicide note suggests murder, it was probably planted there by Ángel. Ángel has been systematically removing all of the evidence connecting him with Sara. Isaac was going to get his hands on the surveillance tapes that could incarcerate Ángel. Isaac had no reason to commit suicide because he was not the one in the surveillance tapes. Also, Isaac was found hanging in the exact same way Sara was found. We know Ángel killed Sara. As for the phone records where Isaac has made multiple calls to Sara over the past 6 months. Well, those are real, they were actually having an affair. Isaac loved Julia and didn’t kill himself.
Julia loses all of her vision. The cop tells Julia about Isaac’s suicide note. He also explains why Isaac may have been hesitant in getting the video footage. But we know that Isaac wasn’t on the video. The cops are convinced again that this too is a suicide. The doctor tells Julia that they have a donor and they can operate. She gets her eyes operated. They tell her to keep her eyes bandaged and stay in the hospital for two weeks. Julia somehow convinces the doc that she will stay at Sara’s place as she knows her way around. The doctor agrees and says that a care worker will visit each day. They take her to Sara’s home. Julia asks them to find out which room the keys she has (the ones the janitor gives) opens. They can’t find any such room or lock.
Meanwhile, Ángel kills off a care worker by the name of Ivan and takes on his identity and goes over to meet Julia. Julia believes that Ángel is actually a care worker by the name of Ivan. That night, Julia has a nightmare of Issac and Sara teaming up to hurt her. She wakes up and calls Ivan for help. He guides her out of the house. But there was no one, just a bad dream. She slowly starts bonding with Ivan (Ángel). One evening, she insists that Ivan (Ángel) stays a little longer and after dinner, she kisses him. He stops her and leaves. This is a moment where Julia is showing regrets about Isaac having an affair with her sister. But now both are dead and she would like to move on too. But, obviously, she hasn’t the slightest clue that her supposed caretaker was the one responsible for both deaths.
Meanwhile, Lia, the neighbour’s daughter, has stolen the mysterious keys to find out more about them. She begins to spy on Julia. Lia is seeing the same patterns of nightmares that Julia is going through. She knows that Sara, too, was going through this. Lia suspected that Sara was being visited by an unknown man. Lia’s dad, however, he’s just a loner. He’s no murderer. One night Julia touches a man beside her bed. This is Ángel. We are also shown that he’s just about to inject Julia with the optic nerve-damaging drug. Julia runs for it and goes to her neighbor Blasco’s place. Blasco doesn’t call the cops but tries to take advantage of a scantily dressed blind woman. Julia hears the keys that Lia has stolen in Blasco’s house and concludes that Blasco is the Invisible Man. She runs out and calls Ivan (Ángel). He comes to save her. Julia asks Ivan (Ángel) to take him to his place and he does.
Lia follows them to Ángel’s place. She meets with Julia when Ivan (Ángel) is not around and tells her all about the keys and how Sara was being tormented by an Invisible Man. Lia warns Julia that she too would be made to go blind just like Sara. She says that the care worker is the Invisible Man. She gives Julia the keys and asks her to open one of the doors in the house to confirm this. She also tells Julia that she knew about the affair between Sara and Isaac and that Isaac loved Julia and would never have committed suicide. Lia says that the care worker has been collecting pictures of Julia and Sara which are pinned to a wall. Lia hides. Julia asks Ivan (Ángel) for the keys. He holds on to it. He offers to make tea. Julia excuses herself to go to the bathroom. In the meanwhile, Lia gets caught by Ángel and is killed off. Julia hears a noise and is nervous. She takes off her bandages and comes out of the bathroom and finds herself in front of a locked door and the keys open the door. Inside is a wall with photos as Lia mentions. Julia realizes that Lia was telling the truth. She goes looking for her and finds her corpse stabbed against a wall. She begins to freak out and cry.
Ángel approaches and asks what happened. Julia lies saying a girl named Lia was in the house saying things to her. She has taken off her bandages and is now not able to see anything. She tries her best to get out of the house but Ángel insists that they have tea. He acts like he’s calling the hospital and says that the doctor is not available. When they sit to have tea. Julia knows her tea is drugged. She switches it but Ángel notices that the cups have been switched. He takes Julia and asks her to open a freezer. She does and sees the dead body of the real Ivan. She freaks out. Ángel confirms that Julia has been lying about her blindness. Ángel confesses who he is and why he’s doing all this. He takes her to Sara’s place. Julia escapes and goes over to Mrs. Soledad’s place. Ángel gets in the house too and hides in the shadow. Ángel reveals that he’s Soledad’s son by calling her “Mom”. Both Julia and Ángel think that Soledad is blind but she suddenly attacks Julia from the back knocking her out. Ángel realizes that his mother was never blind (he sees candles and reading glasses). In anger, he pins her down and injects her with the chemical and makes her go blind for real.
Ángel takes Julia to Sara’s basement. He tells her that he doesn’t need to use the chemical on her eyes as she’s almost lost her vision. Because Julia has been through a lot of trauma post her operation, she’s losing her eyesight naturally. Ángel hasn’t had to inject her with chemicals. He offers that they can live together. Julia is disgusted and says she would rather die first. She unable to commit suicide either. She is able to attack Ángel and escape the basement. She locks Ángel inside and calls the cops. After a while, Ángel breaks the door down. Julia cuts the power to the house. Before Ángel can get to Julia and kill her, the cops bust in and finally are able to see Ángel the invisible man. Ángel can’t stand to be seen. He kills himself.
At the doctor’s place, Julia is told that he will go blind before dawn. She asks to see Isaac. She notices his eyes and gets to know that he was the donor. Knowing that she’s seeing through Isaac’s eyes, she quickly runs to the mirror to see herself as Isaac once saw her. She loses her vision as she imagines seeing the entire universe. The film ends.