They feel each other’s pain, but it’s the emotional baggage they lug through the film that proves the most punishing.
“In Your Eyes,” a romance with a kiss of sci-fi, follows two lost souls who first connected long ago but need each other now more than ever.
Writer Joss Whedon (yes, the “Avengers” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” auteur) concocts an original tale that could stand more romance, whimsy and clarity. Those pining for an unconventional love story will cheer “In Your Eyes” all the same.
Zoe Kazan plays Rebecca, a New Hampshire housewife married to a doctor (Mark Feuerstein in full smarmy mode). He’s a good provider, but he treats her like a wayward child, not a partner. Dylan (Michael Stahl-David, “Cloverfield”) is an ex-con in New Mexico barely getting by with a car wash gig.
Both Rebecca and Dylan tap into each other’s lives via an unexplained power that developed during their pre-teen years. They can see what the other sees, hear what the other hears … and even smell the same scents.
And when one gets punched or slapped, the other writhes in pain.
Their bond proves a welcome distraction at first. The more their lives spiral out of control the more they rely on each other for help … and comfort.
You’ll have to swallow hard to accept both the premise and the colorful obstacles that get in their way. Whedon’s script, slick and often superficial, does the romance few favors. Yet there’s something beautiful about the way the characters fall in love. It’s more honest than online flirting, and the lack of physical intimacy makes for a wholesome pairing.
Kazan excels with these quirky but naturalistic roles, but she can’t do much about the way Whedon’s story twists in the third act. We know what the final scene will hold, but getting their takes some Paul Bunyon-sized leaps in logic.
“In Your Eyes” reminds us how true love reveals our better selves, a message that rings true even when paired with Whedon-esque plot device.
The DVD edition of “In Your Eyes” comes without home video extras.
DID YOU KNOW: Zoe Kazan says that while making “In Your Eyes” she always had co-star Michael Stahl-David on set to speak with, even though their characters were thousands of miles apart, to enhance the duo’s connection.