Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Whedon does Sparks.
Couple days ago, there was news of a new Joss Whedon movie that…nobody even knew existed called In Your Eyes. It was a very low budget film that was released on video on demand (Vimeo), and they are right…I never heard of it, which is pretty rare for Joss Whedon. Also, the movie had no previous Whedon actors either, another Whedon rarity. When asked what it was about Zoe Kazan answered it is kind of like Joss Whedon does Nicholas Sparks…and that’s a pretty true sentiment…which is why I borrowed it for my 3-word review.
In Your Eyes is a paranormal romance film about these two people that are spiritually or otherwise connected. At first, they sense each other in times of pain and struggle – and that turns into being able to literally talk to each other. As far as story goes, it is definitely character-based as it shows us that these are two very dysfunctional people with past and current hurts, and as they talk to each other…they look crazy talking to themselves…which turns into its own fiasco. Well, you’ll see.
There are two main reasons I watched this film – 1. Joss Whedon wrote it, and 2. Zoe Kazan starred. Zoe, of course, wrote and starred in one of my other favorite films – Ruby Sparks. So these two are among my favorite people in show business, and I’m sure I’ll be following their careers for a long time. Had it been made by anyone else, or starred anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have given this the light of day. It simply had zero advertisements, and a good majority of people still don’t even know about its existence. It’s also low budget, which often gives the false impression of bad acting. Something you’d see maybe on the Hallmark Channel or ABC Family. Unimpressive stuff, right? Well the movie itself is actually pretty darn good.
Joss Whedon is a master storyteller. Yes, this kind of takes off of Nicholas Sparks and has a little cheesy moments here and there, but his iconic “Whedon Wit” is definitely sprinkled on throughout the film. If you know Whedon well, you know his style of character writing. So many of his characters are written in a similar fashion. Those of you that are fans like I am might realize that the character of Dylan is probably closest to Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the loyal, witty, sarcastic guy that’s overlooked and judged. While Rebecca’s character could be compared to Winifred Burkle on Angel as the soft-spoken and shy girl.
Also, Nicholas Sparks is way more melodramatic and cliché than Whedon. The paranormal aspect of connecting these two individuals paved way for so many different themes and opportunities to where the film could actually go. Are these two long lost twins, are they true soul mates, aliens, does one of them not exist, is one a ghost…..what is really going on here? Thing is, the movie is made in such a way that…it really doesn’t matter. What matters the most is these characters and how they naturally interact. Whedon has always had a way with characters. His storytelling often begins a bit slowly while the audience is unsure where it’s going, and then it explodes with intriguing plot points. He has always had a firm grasp on what we, as the audience, are thinking.
No, this isn’t your typical Joss Whedon movie. It’s not even obviously or blatantly his work. If you know it’s his writing, you’ll easily be able to recognize his spark, but if you stumbled upon this while it was playing on TV…I’m afraid a lot of people wouldn’t stick around for too long. That kind of upsets me.
If you are a fan of Joss Whedon, and know that he wrote this before you watch it, I’m sure you’ll have a really fun time noticing all of the “Whedonisms”. The concept is smart and for the most part pretty unique. It’s cool to see Whedon do a romance.
It’s not the most attractive movie in the world. It had a low budget with basically no promotion work. It just popped up one day and people were all like – wait…Joss Whedon? It is incredibly easy to look over without a second thought. It can also be a tad cheesy at times. All I can say is I hope you give it a chance, because I really do think it’s decent.