The TriBeCa Film Festival is all about finding those little hidden gems that you normally wouldn’t see. I stumbled upon In Your Eyes and instantly had to see it because Joss Whedon wrote its screenplay. I’m a huge fan of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and while I’m not a fan of The Avengers, or even Cabin in the Woods, I had to see this movie because the plot sounded great.
Rebecca (played by Zoe Kazan) is the timid wife of a big shot doctor. Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) is an ex-con on probation, and works at a car wash. One drunken night, Dylan gets into a bar fight, and Rebecca feels the bat slamming into her head. She’s on the East coast and he’s in New Mexico. The next day, they can suddenly hear what is going on around the other person, and see what the other sees. What starts as a crazy phenomenon turns into a friendship like no other.
I’m lying, of course. Everyone knows that they’re going to fall for each other. Take out the sci-fi factor, and you have a typical long distance relationship drama. There’s even a “phone sex” scene, but instead of a phone, it’s their own hands they are sensing! See how smart and original this is? The biggest problem with the plot is that Dylan is given a reason for not being able to leave his state to meet Rebecca, however the same is not true for Rebecca. Sure, she’s married, but I’m sure any wife of a doctor could think of a reason to go to New Mexico. Then we wouldn’t have the “gut wrenching” finale, which almost had me laughing in the theater because it was so absurd. Yes, more absurd than the idea of a psychic, long distance relationship.
In Your Eyes could have worked, though. It opens with the characters as kids, and as the film slowly progresses, they realize they have always been psychically connected. Okay, stop right there for a moment. For almost twenty years these two have been connected – sensing each other’s every emotion – and they never really thought too much about it? Okay, sure. Frankly, I would have rather the whole movie been about these two as children instead of adults because this part of the story is clichéd and bland.
The actors do a fine enough job. I never really felt any chemistry between them, though, which is a shame because so much of the script relies on that. I actually found Rebecca to be rather annoying. She’s weak-willed, and reminds me of Zooey Deschanel, which isn’t a compliment. Nikki Reed has some fun as a mild love interest for Dylan, but is ultimately wasted.
Brin Hill directs, and the film has a big budget feel to it. Everything is aptly shot, and the blurred lines are fun when they happen. There are some weird choices made, though, like the characters just randomly chatting aloud to one another while working, or shopping, but that is probably more to do with the script than the directing.
In Your Eyes isn’t completely terrible. It’s watchable, and, at times, enjoyable. The script is poorly done, though, and is the reason I couldn’t enjoy the film more. This is surprising since it’s written by Joss Whedon, but, hey, everyone makes a stinker, I guess. The story is never plausible, and the dialogue is rather poor. I’d expect that from a CW pilot script, but a Whedon script should just be better than this.