Netflix’s ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ takes place on a remote island where a group of friends has assembled for a weekend of fun. Benoit Blanc is brought to the scene to tackle a murder mystery. Initially, murder on the island was supposed to be just a mystery game, but when blood is actually spilled, all the secrets and lies come tumbling down. In the second half, the film reveals its many layers, leading the audience and Blanc to the answer that had been in front of him all this time. This also relates to the meaning of the title of the film. If you are wondering what the term glass onion means and what significance it has to the plot of the film, then here’s what you should know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD
Glass Onion Meaning and Significance
Much like the murder mystery in the movie, the meaning of glass onion also takes on many layers. The first time we see it, it is the top of Miles’ glass mansion shaped like an onion. Later, however, we discover that Glass Onion was the name of the bar where Andi and her friends first met Miles. This place was their regular haunt and became especially important because this was where Andi came up with the idea for Alpha and wrote it down on a napkin.
The importance of the Glass Onion bar is further underlined when Andi’s real napkin is compared with Miles’ fake one. The real one has “glass onion” imprinted on it, indicating that it is authentic because the bar closed down soon after. On the other hand, Miles’ napkin is plain, meaning he could have picked it up from anywhere and fabricated the whole thing. In this manner, Glass Onion becomes the very thing that draws the line between the truth and the lies. But that’s not where its meaning ends.
At one point in the film, Benoit Blanc talks about the glass onion as something that has many layers but is also very simple because the center is always in plain sight. Extrapolating on this to look at the plot of the film, one can see how several things were twisted to look more complicated than they actually were. Blanc, personally, experiences this by turning the case into a much more complex web of lies, when in fact, the answer was not only in front of him all along but was also given to him before he came to the island.
In trying to figure out Andi’s death, Helen had been convinced from the start that Miles had something to do with it. However, Blanc considered him smarter than that. Having recently concluded a court case that was all over the newspapers, the detective believed that the billionaire wouldn’t do something where he will be the prime suspect and would easily be caught. Blanc, who was a little rusty at this point and wanted something that would challenge him, made the mistake of ignoring the obvious. It isn’t until later that he realizes that Miles really is that stupid and it was he who killed Andi as well as Duke.
Blanc, eventually, accepts that much like a glass onion, the answer had always been in plain sight but he got too busy peeling off the layers to pay attention to it. For director Rian Johnson, this was the core of the movie and he wanted that to reflect in the title. He wanted to highlight Blanc’s need to find meaning in things and then dig further to relate it to the case. While this is one of the strengths of the detective, it also threatens to be one of his weaknesses. He even confesses to Helen that he is not good at dumb things, and it is the dumbness of the villain that makes things so complicated for him.
In an interview with Tudum, Johnson revealed that he used the Beatles’ song “Glass Onion” as the title because it perfectly summed up what he wanted the film to be about. Interestingly, John Lennon wrote the song because he, too, wanted to tell people not to look too much into things that don’t really mean anything. This gave another layer of meaning to Johnson’s film, and he decided that there’d be nothing better than naming it ‘Glass Onion’.
Read More: Who is Derol in Glass Onion? Theories