‘In Your Eyes’ Movie Review – A Psychological Rom-Com
The human brain is something we, even the specialists, don’t fully comprehend. It is why various topics of psychology, including conformity, addiction, violence, and mental illness, are such difficult things to understand. It is the latter (mental illness) that Brin Hill’s In Your Eyes deals with, but in a way only a Joss Whedon (who wrote the film) script could. In Your Eyes may be a little too sweet (perhaps to a fault), but it still finds a way to explore a fascinating subject in an insightful way.
In Your Eyes utilizes two protagonist’s, Becki (Zoe Kazan) and Dylan (Michael Stahl-David), who are two time zones apart with a weird connection. Both of them have grown up with separate lives, but have been “connected.” It is hard to explain and the two characters can’t really make sense of it either. Basically, the two have the ability to see one another’s thoughts and actually talk and interact with one another.
It sounds bizarre, and it looks bizarre to the people around them. And since they can’t seem to make sense of it, the film’s antagonists write the two off as “crazy.” Eventually there are extreme consequences to the two’s personalities which comes to a head in the third act.
In Your Eyes benefits the most from a great script. Even not knowing this film was written by the talented Joss Whedon, it’d be easy to see the highlights of the script. It is a tough sell to have two characters talking to each other without actually being in the same location for a majority of the film. However, Whedon’s script seems as natural as it could be given the circumstances.
The antagonists are the only parts of the film I’d change because their motives seem tacked-on. But this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.
When dealing with such a touchy, and ultimately difficult to understand, concept, it probably would’ve been easier to make the film darker and more dramatic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the typical psychological thriller (especially when it works in the same way Memento or Black Swan does), but making the story lighter (and more awkward) has its benefits here.
Really, this movie is a rare example of a psychological rom-com.
At its core, In Your Eyes touches on a thought-provoking subject. Since people can’t explain mental illness, they generally aren’t very empathic about the subject. Instead, they clumsily misattribute the “illness” to chemical imbalances, trauma, genetics, or something else.
I’m not saying I am an expert on this subject, but I am saying it seems a little scary how quickly people are written off as “crazy.”
Crazy is just a word.
Joss Whedon and director Brin Hill agree with this take on the human brain and have created an outside-the-box rom-com of sorts. I usually don’t link to other articles, but I think this piece in the New Yorker best sums up the problem with rom-coms. Luckily, In Your Eyes doesn’t follow suit. Instead, it is one of those fun movies that you can’t wait to tell people to go see. More importantly, it is the kind of movie that has a good premise which requires a deep and introspective look into love and psychology. It isn’t perfect but, hey, neither are we.
In a rare move, In Your Eyes simultaneously released with its 2014 Tribeca Film Festival premiere. It is available today using Video On Demand.
Follow me on Twitter @jmacle