In Your Eyes (2014) Review
Finding love from afar is easier when you can through their eyes.
In Your Eyes is a 2014 drama about a young man and woman hundreds of miles apart who are mysteriously connected, allowing them to see, smell, and touch what the other experiences.
We all want to believe there is someone out their for us, a person we connect with in ways beyond explanation, but what if that were really true? What if one day you could see through the eyes of someone you never met, and found that they were more than just someone you could telepathically join, but in fact, was your soul mate? So it is with In Your Eyes, a strange little film that builds a relationship between two people who spend almost no time on screen together.
It begins with a young girl on a small snowy slope, riding a sled down the hill before losing control and crashing into some trees. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a boy her age is in a classroom and suddenly can see what she sees, riding down the snow and falling out of his desk when she hits the trees. What’s going on? Well, these kids are connected, but it’s going to take few more years before they understand just how much so.
As adults, Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) is the wife of a successfully but emotionally unavailable husband named Phillip (Mark Feuerstein), who tends to treat her with an air of superiority, as if she were an adorable child. Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) is an ex-con trying to get his life back together. She lives in New Hampshire and he in New Mexico, and yet, while they’ve never met, are not related, and not long lost twins, share a powerful connection, one that they’ve long had but thought imaginary, though now, suddenly is very real. Able to share their lives remotely, the two form a bond that grows as they explore, and it’s not long before they find themselves truly connected. But is has consequences.
Directed by Brin Hill and written by Joss Whedon, In Your Eyes is a decidedly strange film, and with Whedon behind the story, that’s not so surprising. The premise is simple and familiar, and avoids trying to explain how it happens, a move that works with some films, but here, feels a bit like a cheat, even if it’s probably best not knowing. The movie isn’t really interested in the science of it all, nor the implications of what is essentially proof of actual mind-melding, but rather sticking to the simplistic tropes of young love and how the number of pratfalls the situation can setup and knockdown. And there are plenty, so much so that Rebecca ends up looking like she needs psychiatric help and Dylan loses his job, both for openly talking out loud in public as if carrying on conversations with someone standing right beside them. This is a conceit that will surely be the deciding factor for most, a series of gags that have each other reacting physically to what the other sees, falling out of chairs, knocking things over, and more, all in public, usually in the company of people who are naturally confused by their actions. It’s a big leap of faith for the viewer, but if you’re it for the romance, it might be something to get past. It wasn’t for me.
That’s not to say the actors aren’t good. In fact, both Stahl-David and Kazan are very well cast and extremely likable, especially Kazan who fits quite comfortably between alluring and adorable, and bonus for her comedic timing. They’re so good that you want them to be together, which is what drives the film, but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better if the movie just stripped away the whole telekineses concept and just let them work it out in person. Of course, that would have made it impossible for a few good moments that take great advantage of the premise, including a wonderful bit where the two share a ‘physical’ moment of intimacy while still half a country apart. It’s clever and surprisingly touching … in more ways than one.
In Your Eyes is an odd little film that is purely about the relationships and not about the magic. Logic is tossed gleefully aside, and depending on one’s tolerance for such things, might be something memorable. Otherwise, it will be a curious experiment that will pass some time and not much more. Worth it for a few good performances and for Whedon fans, it has its charms but can’t live up to its potential.
In Your Eyes (2014) Review
Movie description: In Your Eyes is a 2014 drama about a young man and woman hundreds of miles apart who are mysteriously connected, allowing them to see, smell, and touch what the other experiences.
Director(s): Brin Hill
Actor(s): Michael Stahl-David, Zoe Kazan, Mark Feuerstein