At the Tribeca Film Festival in April, 2014, a new movie written by Joss Whedon, In Your Eyes, premiered. It’s not uncommon for movies to premier at festivals before getting theater releases. Often times, this is how they are showcased to be picked up for wide distribution. Bucking the trend, this was not only the films premier, but its release as well, with the movie appearing for rent on streaming site Vimeo the same day. Whedon, before his blockbuster hit, was known for smaller, character pieces. How does this compare?
In Your Eyes follows Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) and Dylan (Michael Stahl-David), two people who share a unique connection. For nearly their entire lives, they’ve been seeing through each other’s eyes, but never comprehending what was happening. One day, the door opens wider and they’re able to talk to each other. The two, having never met, begin to talk more and more, eventually falling in love. Complications arise as their friends and families think they’re going insane as they’re seemingly constantly talking to themselves, aloud.
I have mixed feelings about this. Whedon’s name alone brought me instantly on board. The premise, with the two able to see and experience each other’s lives was inventive, but from there Whedon takes many stereotypical tropes and reexamines them under this new light. Smart convict who should know better is nearly pulled back in, meekish girl with controlling husband, etc. While it was interesting for a time, I was hoping for something new to come, given the supernatural connection.
The dialogue was solid, though certainly not Whedon’s best. Nary a quip or witticism was present. Not a detraction as it would have stuck out more so. The performances were well done from the leads considering they were mostly monologuing. Some of Kazan’s more excited moments, where she was overwhelmed, or being carried off were poorly acted. The scene in the first act where she’s shopping sticks out as a prime example. Otherwise, both her and Stahl-David did an admirable job. Also, the girl in the bar (Nikki Reed), I didn’t buy for a second that she was stupid.
The ending was a bit soap-ish and predictable. Maybe this is adulthood finally creeping in, but all I could think of was how they were destroying ever bridge, essentially exiling themselves. Running away together was a bit of a let down. I wasn’t looking for an explanation for their connection, but playing with it a bit more would have helped. Here’s my pitch, when they come to meet, they can’t find each other because they really do only exist in each others mind. dun Dun DUN!
Spending on $5 on the rental, I don’t feel like I wasted my money. As the movie went on, I did need to force myself to continue paying attention. Your results may vary.
Whedon’s name pique your interest? Going to check this out? Comment below!
I’m off to do better things.