Joss Whedon wouldn’t make a romantic movie without some sort of paranormal element, hence the unique screenplay for Brin Hill’s In Your Eyes, a tale of two people telepathically connected. Beginning from Dylan Kershaw (Michael Stahl-David) and Rebecca Porter’s (Zoe Kazan)–seemingly unconnected at the outset–early childhood, each one can feel the others pains and joys. Though mostly just the pains, as is the case when Rebecca gets into a sledding accident and hits her head against a tree, knocking Dylan out at the same time while he’s sitting in his classroom on the other side of the country.
Both, of course, ignore the strangeness of their various empathetic feelings and experiences, chalking it up to their own strange mental state. But, as they grow into adulthood, the connection becomes too strong to ignore, with the other person’s location often times superimposing their own. One day, after Rebecca has embarrassed her husband, Phillip (Mark Feuerstein), at a dinner party during which she abruptly screams and jumps back as Dylan is being hit with a pool cue at his local bar, she taps into Dylan’s mind while she’s shopping for lingerie and he’s driving to work. Startling the salesperson in front of her by shouting at Dylan to look out at the road in front of him, Rebecca runs out of the store in a panic and crouches near a storefront to try to “make the voice go away.” But after talking and realizing that the other is real, they tell one another where they’re located, she in New Hampshire, he in New Mexico. Amazed and confused by the bizarre circumstances of being able to communicate in this way, they agree to continue their discussion later just as Rebecca is interrupted by a police officer she knows asking her if she’s okay. Indeed, the entire town of Exeter seems to be on Rebecca’s dick about her mental state (she has a prior history of being institutionalized) , especially her own husband. Nonetheless, she doesn’t seem to care about how she looks “talking to herself” as she grows increasingly enamored of Dylan and his innate understanding of her.
Dylan, too, looks forward to his daily conversations with Rebecca, seeing her as a bright light in his dark world of being an ex-con constantly harassed by his parole officer and other criminals who want him to execute another robbery. The closer they become as a result of knowing the most personal details about one another, the less they care about the judgmental glares they get for seemingly conversing with no one. Rebecca not only invokes the discrimination of her husband, but also local housewife/gossip monger Diane (Jennifer Grey, RIP her original face), who later tells Phillip that Rebecca is having an affair, which, she insists, must be the cause for why she’s been acting so crazy. Not willing to stand for being made into a cuckold, Phillip admits Rebecca to a mental institution of his colleague’s after long setting her up to appear schizophrenic in the eyes of professionals. Although Rebecca just recently told Dylan to check out of her mind so she can give Phillip the respect she thought he deserved, he immediately senses that she’s in danger and violates his parole to hop on a plane and rescue her. With the law on his tail, he instructs Rebecca on how to pick the lock (ex-con wisdom) and break out so they can be together, most likely in Canada where they’ll both be untouchable.
As Rebecca makes her way cautiously out of the facility, she runs into Phillip and whimsically punches him out, prompting a slew of handlers to run after her the way the cops are now running after Dylan, forced to ditch his car and sprint the rest of the way to Rebecca. They both head for the woods where Dylan hears a train and tells Rebecca to get on it. When they at last meet face to face, it is as though being together is the most natural thing in the world. In the final tense scene, there is a moment where we think Rebecca might not make it on the train, but Dylan lifts her up and takes a long look at her. Finally, the girl in his head is the girl in front of him.
The beauty of the ending, and the film as a whole, proves Whedon has perfected a new genre of romance imbued with a touch of the mysticism.