Joss Whedon is a busy guy. His diehard fans knew he had penned In Your Eyes, but many were pleased that the movie was released online on the same weekend it was viewed at a film festival. For those who haven’t watched the paranormal romance film yet, you can rent it through Vimeo On Demand.
Warning: The following contains spoilers.
I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, so I was thrilled to find out about his attachment to a non-action movie after watching his quirky and fun adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in 2013. Whedon penned the story to In Your Eyes, which Brin Hill directed.
If we look at the overall story, it may not seem like much of a paranormal story. The hero Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) is an ex-con who works a menial job, lives in a broken down trailer out in the country, and gets checked in on by his parole officer, Giddons (Steve Harris). He flirts with Donna (Nikki Reed), a local girl. Life is tough to care about for Dylan.
The heroine, Rebecca (Zoe Kazan), is married to Phillip (Mark Feuerstein), an up and coming doctor. Unlike Dylan, she has everything – the big house, excess time for shopping and art classes, and nice things. Of course, she is meant to meet Dylan and find out that he is the man she is truly meant to be with.
And there’s where the film moves into the paranormal romance side. Dylan and Rebecca turn out to be the older versions of a young boy and girl who shared a psychic or mind connection when they were young. It becomes reconnected as both of them flounder to live in their current lives, and we see them build a relationship talking to each other out loud as if their brains acted as the cell phone. They can see through each other’s eyes, so Becky enjoys views of New Mexico while Dylan enjoys feeling the sensations of the cold of a New England winter.
Much like first love, they start off slow but become reliant on each other for entertainment and friendship. Long secret conversations become long conversations held out in the open where others can see them talking to – nobody. But even across the whole distance, their connection feels very real for both of them, and they both start growing as people and relying on each other.
You might think that there’s no room for a steamy romantic scene, but since they can both “see” and “live” through each other, there’s a very interesting “sex” scene that brings their tangible love alive. And like any good relationship, they are jealous of each other’s connections. Becky, who is already distant with her husband, continues to pull away. Dylan ruins his chances with Donna.
Just as the relationship hits a pinnacle, Whedon throws a monkey wrench into it. Of course, Becky is thought to be having a mental breakdown and is institutionalized. Because it’s difficult to love someone in the odd way that she does with Dylan, she gives up on their relationship. In the last climax of the movie, Dylan breaks his parole to rescue Becky. The film ends with a visually beautiful HEA.
I’m not sure anyone else other than Whedon could pull off a storyline so dependent on strong dialogue. Also, both Stahl-David and Kazan handled the hero and heroine with great strength, making their connection feel very real. I liked both of them, identified with their flaws, and cheered them on. I already had an affinity for Kazan after seeing her as Ruby in Ruby Sparks, another independent romance with a paranormal twist.
Perhaps the way the movie was released will become the new model for indie films. If so, I hope that more romance movies with a paranormal twist will get out to the masses. I would definitely recommend this movie to those who want to watch an interesting love story and are willing to try a new way of watching a guy and a girl fall in love.