Joss Whedon fans got a pleasant shock just shy of midnight East Coast time last night, when the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of the new Whedon-scripted movie, "In Your Eyes," was followed by the announcement that it was immediately available for rental on Vimeo. Whedon, who's off filming a little passion project called "Avengers: Age of Ultron," couldn't make it in person, but he broke the news via video.
The metaphysical love story, which stars Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David as lonely people who share a mysterious connection, was written by Whedon and directed by Brin Hill. According to the Los Angeles Times, Whedon "was not on set for the film but did offer extensive notes and guided the process," as well as contributing an original song to the soundtrack.
Reviews of "In Your Eyes"
Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
The advance word on the picture from star Zoe Kazan was "Joss Whedon does Nicholas Sparks," and while crazier ideas have been floated, the surprise here is that Sparks comes out ahead -- as in, it feels much more like a syrupy melodrama than a Whedon tweak. He plays this romantic drama fairly straight, which is an even stranger choice considering the utter goofiness of its premise.
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
With its modest treatment of a singularly clever idea, "In Your Eyes" successfully offers the lightweight alternative to Whedon's bigger projects: It's cheesy and slight, but persistently smart and entertaining within those narrow parameters. As such, it demonstrates the value of the Bellwether label by ensuring Whedon's sensibilities don't get buried by the spectacles currently overwhelming his career.
Drew Taylor, the Playlist
This is Whedon at his most big-hearted and easily accessible. Sure, there are genre aspects to the screenplay, but they're hardly explored. For two humans gripped with this otherworldly ability, they don’t seem to question it at all. There isn't any exploration as to where it came from or why they were chosen to possess it. Instead, it works almost completely on a metaphoric level.
Tasha Robinson, the Dissolve
Workmanlike director Brin Hill brings a luminescent, sentimental softness to the film, but little personal distinction. Whedon's script is similarly soft: It bucks his usual storytelling pattern by showing the audience something to want, then giving it to them unstintingly, and only with the briefest and most artificial of barriers. It’s a pattern entirely familiar from standard-issue modern rom-coms, which "In Your Eyes" unfortunately resembles in virtually every respect.
Watch the first three minutes of "In Your Eyes" below.