(There be spoilers in this post)
If I were to describe Joss Whedon’s In Your Eyes in one word, it would be ‘sweet’.
How do you fall in love with a person you’ve never met, face to face, in real life? How do you build a connection with someone who may well be a figment of your imagination? As with Spike Jones’ Her, In Your Eyes take on those questions and tackles them head on, but with a lot less payoff.
What the story excelled in was when it was weaving a wonderful web of growing intimacy and mutual understanding, but it didn’t do a good job of selling all the supposedly insurmountable obstacles in their path. And that greatly minimizes the emotional impact of the resolution. One other thing that took away from the final scene where Rebecca and Dylan finally “meet” each other, was that the film ended there.
What happens next? That’s a question that the audience should be able to answer, whether as a direct result of foreshadowing in the film, or at least a likely scenario that could be built. But with this, I got nothing. Because that train is stopping somewhere, and when it does, it’s just a matter of time before Dylan gets arrested for breaking his parole (not to mention all the other counts he racked up while trying to save Rebecca), and Rebecca will have to go back to her husband at some point, if only to sign divorce papers (if it even gets that far). And that’s all besides the fact that they have no passports or ID or money (Rebecca), save for the couple grand that Dylan got from selling his truck.
The rest of the characters in the film – Donna the bimbo, Phillip the sinister husband, Giddons the cynical PO, Diane the gossipy trophy (maybe) wife, Bo and Lyle the thugs – they’re all one dimensional caricatures of possible characters. Even Dylan and Rebecca aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, one being an ex-con who used to be a top student (what happened to that?) while the other is a doctor’s wife who used to be a mental patient but married a doctor to feel safe. I mean, what?
That said, I do buy what the film was trying to sell. Connection is a powerful thing, and it was beautifully depicted in the film. Zoe Kazan’s performance was breathtaking. The sweet girlishness of meeting someone new who could finally understand her and help her deal with her self esteem issues, I felt Rebecca’s insecurities and hesitance and pure joy at just having a friend. And honestly, I feel it would have hit home harder if the film had just been that – friendship, with the possibility of more.
Because at the heart of it, this isn’t just about romance, this is about the meeting of minds, and that is where I think this film wins.
And also, great dialogue.