Tribeca 2014: “In Your Eyes” – Review by MovieManMenzel
A Joss Whedon Love Story
I attended the World Premiere of In Your Eyes at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, April 20, 2014. Prior to the premiere, there was a lot of pre-festival buzz circulating about the film. Everyone I talked was excited to see it, but had no clue what the film was about other than the generic plot description found on official Tribeca website. What made this premiere even more intriguing was a rumor that Joss Whedon would be revealing something special at the World Premiere. Needless to say, I was anxiously looking forward to seeing the film just because I am a fan of Whedon as well as Kazan, but was also intrigued to find out what surprise was in-store for the Tribeca audience.
In Your Eyes follows Rebecca (Zoe Kazan), a lonely housewife married to a successful doctor and Dylan (Michael Stahl-David), an ex-convict trying to get his shit together. The two live completely different lives in different parts of the country yet somehow they share a special connection unlike any other. As time goes on, Rebecca and Dylan continue to share information about themselves with each another. This ultimately leads them to question their “unique” connection and the reason behind it.
Sorry for being so vague with the plot description, but a lot of what happens in In Your Eyes is better to be experienced rather than spoiled. Eyes is simply a character study about two completely different people that are brought together by a force that is never defined. The simple fact that there is no explanation to the connection yet the film still works says a lot about everyone involved with the project. What makes In Your Eyes even more remarkable is the fact that, we as audience members, fall in love with two characters that are never on-screen together. Throughout the film, director Brin Hill goes back and forth between Rebecca and Dylan’s daily lives to tell this story, but never do we as audience members see them together.
The amazing chemistry that Rebecca and Dylan share works because of the perfect casting choices. I have always been a fan of Zoe Kazan and find her to be very underrated. I think Kazan is very different from your typical Hollywood actress which could be why she is always doing a ton of indie projects. The passion that Kazan and her co-star Michael Stahl-David share with one another throughout this film is spectacular. The two have conversations that remind the viewer of the first time that we fell in love and creates this relationship between two characters that are never in the same scene.
Another thing that is strange about In Your Eyes is that at times it is like so many of your standard science fiction and romantic comedy films, but at other moments it is very different. As Hill pointed out at the Q&A following the premiere, “Joss Whedon blurs the lines of genres with his films.” I think that is one of the many reasons why Whedon has such a loyal and devoted fan base. The man always strives to do something different with everything that he touches. Some cranky critics may criticize this film for lacking explanation of certain things primarily the lack of discussion as to how Rebecca and Dylan are connected, but honestly that didn’t bother me at all.
I was very impressed with Hill’s take on Whedon’s story. I think so few realize that having the right person in the director chair is really the glue that puts everything together. You can have a good cast and a good story, but without the right person setting everything up, it can be a disaster. This isn’t the case at all with this film and Hill always made sure that the film stayed on track. The movie opens in a way that draws the viewer into the story and constantly leaves you wondering will happen next. The pacing was terrific and never dragged on. I also dug the look and style which was very crisp and vivid.
After following so many independent films for years, I can safely say that despite having a big name executive producer/writer on-board, shooting a film like this is always a challenge for everyone involved. In Your Eyes had a very small budget and with being shot in only 20 days it had to be incredibly difficult to film. It is really an achievement that Hill and the gang were able to craft the film as finely as they did with this one. When you have limited resources to work with, a director must use his skill-set to make sure everything is done in a way that not only meets time constraints but financial constraints as well. I think Hill did that with this film and did everything he could to craft the best film with the resources that he was presented with.
All in all, I really dug In Your Eyes. I have always been a sucker for romantic comedies and science fiction so seeing something like this come together was right up my alley. I adored the two lead performances and felt like the film did a great job at being both typical and unique at the same time. The direction by Hill was solid all the way through and paced in a way that never felt drawn out or dull. I think this is a perfect film for couples as well as Whedon fans young and old. I highly recommend this film and loved seeing something that was quirky, weird, and adorable all at the same time.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for In Your Eyes is a 8 out of 10.
The special announcement that Joss Whedon made via video following the premiere is that the film is now available to be viewed by everyone by visiting http://inyoureyesmovie.com. In Your Eyes can be viewed for only $5 by visiting the site above and is available in several different languages.