I was reading the reviews for Joss Whedon’s new film In Your Eyes and critics have not been particularly kind to it. I do not dispute the points they have raised but I did enjoy the film. It might be because I like my occasional sappy movie and In Your Eyes hits that spot for me with the added supernatural element to it. Or I’m still riding on the high of watching his take on Much Ado About Nothing that I am willing to forgive this movie and its faults.
It is a stereotypical romantic drama in the sense that we have a kept housewife or the good girl falling in love with an ex-con or the bad guy. But what’s interesting about Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) is that he isn’t as bad as he thinks he is. He got mixed up with bad company and went down the rabbit hole of being associated with unsavory characters. And it took being able to see the world through Rebecca’s (Zoe Kazan) eyes that he found he could be more than his criminal record and his past.
The film also tries to stray a bit away from the typical romantic movie with the unexplained psychic connection Dylan and Rebecca share. At first, I was looking for an explanation for it. Why would they have this ability? Is it manifesting anywhere else? But then that would’ve taken focus away from the human aspect of the story. It would seem that Joss (the film’s executive producer and writer) wanted to use their “power” to connect to people who felt lonely and out-of-place in their current environment.
It’s a pleasure to watch Kazan take on the seemingly weak female lead. She brings the brand of quirkiness people have come to love in actresses like Zooey Deschanel but with less of the theatrics. Zoe said in one of her interviews that her character was always seen as a fragile girl but when she discovers her link with Dylan she finds out how strong she can be.
It’s not exactly easy to establish a connection and chemistry with another actor, especially if they spend about 90% of the movie apart. But somehow Zoe and Michael managed to pull that off. Although, I will admit their “sex scene” is as awkward as it could get. It felt clumsily shot but I guess there had to be that “physical” aspect to their relationship to show their connection. It could’ve been executed better though.
I don’t really have too many qualms about the movie. Aside from the movies intended or unintended cheesiness, I like how Whedon decided to adopt a different distribution model for this film. I believe it is still coming out soon in the cinemas but for those who want to watch it now, you can rent it for US$5 on Vimeo. You will be able to stream the film on your device of choice. It’s a good thing to see the film industry being shaken up a bit with this new approach. I’m hoping more Hollywood bigwigs would think to adopt this method, too.
Whedon fans might not take too much to “In Your Eyes.” But if you’ve just been looking for something to tide you over before his next Marvel project comes out, then this film is worth a try. You will just spend $5 for it, plus you will be showing the film industry that this can be a viable approach for film distribution.