In this section of the Colossus Movie Guide for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, we will discuss the meaning behind the movie’s title.
Why is the movie called Glass Onion?
In talking with Netflix, Rian Johnson, writer and director of Glass Onion, said, “I’m always fishing for something fun that Blanc can grab onto as an overwrought metaphor that he can beat to death. This is all in plain sight from the very start. So, the idea of glass came to me, something that’s clear. I’ll be very honest. I literally got out my iPhone and searched my music library with the word glass. ‘There’s got to be some good glass songs.’ I was like, ‘Oh, is it a glass fortress? Is it a glass castle? Is it a glass man?’ The first thing that came up, because I’m a huge Beatles fan, is ‘Glass Onion.’”
Johnson doesn’t elaborate where he was at in the writing process when he decided on the title. Clearly he already knew that everything would be “in plain sight from the very start” and was thinking about glass. I would assume that means Johnson had some of the story figured out and was in the development process where you refine and elaborate. But because a glass onion features so prominently in the story Johnson couldn’t have been totally finished and only needing a title.
I say all that because I want to establish he had time to draw inspiration from the lyrics of the song. The song is interesting because John Lennon had grown frustrated with people reading too much into the band’s lyrics. So “Glass Onion” was an active attempt to mess with fans. He accomplished this by making a handful of references to famous songs by the Beatles. “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Fixing A Hole”, “I Am The Walrus”, “The Fool On The Hill”, and “Lady Madonna”. John knew fans would hear those references and start overanalyzing, trying to discover some intended meaning. Except, as the title implies, their search would be fruitless. There were no layers of meaning. Hence the song’s title and refrain of “Looking through a glass onion.”
Johnson takes his movie to a similar place. Everything that happens in Glass Onion’s first hour is actually just a misdirection. Layers of nothing. Which is why we have the scene where Benoit solves Miles’s murder mystery so quickly. It’s Johnson’s version of Lennon toying with audience expectations. “This thing you thought would be the film’s main focus? Not important.” Glass Onion is a mystery that’s anti-mystery. The truth isn’t complicated at all. The most obvious person to be the villain is the villain. There’s no genius machinations at play. What seems complicated is actually pretty straightforward.
What are your thoughts?
Is there more information about the title that you think should be part of the Colossus Movie Guide for Glass Onion? Leave a comment below and we’ll consider adding your thoughts to the guide.