“In Your Eyes:” A Small Step Backward For Female Leads

in your eyes

Why, Joss Whedon, why? You’ve created such beautiful, strong female leads like Buffy Summers (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Echo (“Dollhouse”). And then you give us Rebecca Porter, a meek, shy, dependent girl who needs a man to make it through life. To be fair! The script for this film has gone through several revisions, and was written in the 90s. But, Whedon is known for continuously writing independent, female characters, and this movie just doesn’t provide any.

The film is about two people who have a connection and are able to see and feel one another, but don’t come to realize this until they’re adults. When they do figure out their connection, they build a relationship and eventually run away together. It’s essentially a damsel in distress, teenage romance that includes a mentally unstable, cute girl that everyone falls in love with. I will forever watch anything written, directed, or in some way associated with Joss Whedon (Firefly forever). But, this movie is a complete bummer.

To be fair, again, I have high expectations for the man. Especially after an interview where he was asked, “So why do you write these strong female characters?” to which Whedon responded, “Because you’re still asking me that question.” And then he goes and writes a character like Rebecca Porter. A shy girl is swooped up by a man who takes care of her through her mental illnesses. And again swooped up by the rugged man, taking her away from her dominating husband that belittles her constantly throughout the film. The end of the movie, where the two finally meet and jump on a train to take them away from their struggles, represents every romantic film to have come out during the 1950s. I kept hoping the two would maintain a friendship, or that she would escape her husband to independently live life, but alas, neither of those more fulfilling endings happened.

It’s unfortunate because the concept of the whole movie is great, and has so much potential. It has a science fiction aspect with the whole connection between two people. It could have explored Rebecca breaking free from male domination. Maybe taken a more theoretical approach and looked into the connections people have in relation to how people interact today, i.e. online, social media, text messaging. It explores the idea of long distance relationships and their possibility with various types of communication. In that regard it holds a similar resemblance to Spike Jonze’s “Her” that came out this past year and was wonderful! “Her” was supposed to be about intimate relationships. Whereas “In Your Eyes” didn’t have to be—and that’s why it is so disappointing. It could have moved beyond a teenage romance, and could have explored bigger concepts like finding independence later in life, connections that people can have, and the societal limits of mental illness. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t, and finishes off with a generic resolution of two people travelling forth into the future together.

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However, despite all of this complaining, I continue to be a huge fan of him and his work such as “Firefly,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” and “Toy Story.” I believe it is important to see the good and bad works of a filmmakers to better understand and analyze what they are trying to creatively produce. So go see it and comment what you think!

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