‘Glass Onion’, in actuality, is a lesser-known song by The Beatles that inspired the title of the film. And although hardcore Beatles fans will disagree, the song simply doesn’t have the same fan following as some of the band's other widely acclaimed tunes. For instance, it is not at par with ‘Hey Jude’ and neither does it enjoy the cult following that ‘Eleanor Rigby’ boasts.
John Lennon is credited with the primary authorship of the song. It’s replete with red herrings, and obscure imageries much like the film in question. And although the name is fascinating, it is the story behind the creation of the song that ties up so well with the overarching themes of the film.
The story behind John Lennon’s 'Glass Onion'
Lennon’s song is anti-meaning. He wrote it as a joke to mock the critics who sought to overanalyse his music. In an interview with David Sheff, he said: “That’s me, just doing a throwaway song.”
His general dislike for overt meaning-making is reflected in the ‘Glass Onion’. After all, he made the song gleefully obscure - making it both dense and simultaneously fickle. For instance the line, 'The walrus was Paul', did not signify anything. The 'walrus' could just as well have been a fox, according to Lennon.
Why is it relevant to the film?
The film follows the story of a morally dubious billionaire, Miles, who is supported by his equally morally stunted friends. They saunter into the Glass Onion, the Billionaire’s island, and are taken aback by its outward sheen, unaware of the vacuity within. Much like the song, in question.
He invites them to playact a murder mystery story and the rest as you know is history. Rian Johnson orchestrates the sequel by positioning a rich nincompoop at the centre. Miles’ monologues are all hot-air with no substance, he frustratingly deflects all criticism as his apparent friends turn a blind eye.
And if he has no substance then his prized creation, the Glass Onion, cannot either. So much like the meaning, or rather, the lack of meaning of the song, the palatial Glass Onion in the film, helmed by Miles, stands on murky terrains, and can crumble any second, with a soft nudge.
Both the song and the film, in the end, seem to reiterate that if you unpeel the layers (of the metaphorical onion) you'll find a whole lot of nothing.