I’m going to need you all to watch Lazy Eye RIGHT NOW.

keysmash movie review lazy eye banner

What if “the one that got away” suddenly returned?

Passions reignite and hidden secrets revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) reconnects with an ex-lover (Aaron Costa Ganis) he hasn’t seen or heard from in 15 years. Over the course of a weekend at a vacation house in the desert, they must determine whether or not they have a future together. Written and directed by Emmy, Gotham, GLAAD and Independent Spirit Award-nominee Tim Kirkman (Dear Jesse, Loggerheads, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me) and co-starring Michaela Watkins is about roads not taken, unfinished business, and the struggle to adjust to progressive lenses.

I have been trying to write about this movie since I first watched it, but every time I open a draft I get lost in my feelings and then I just watch the movie again. I’m going to need you all to do me a favor and GO. WATCH. THIS. MOVIE. It’s available on AmazoniTunes, and Google Play. Read on if you must, I’ll keep this fairly spoiler-free, but PLEASE watch and come back to talk to me about it because I need to talk more about it.

This movie messed me uppppp. I succumb easily to nostalgia, and this movie is soaked in it. It’s not even my personal nostalgia, but it’s so visceral. The setting doesn’t help; I spent quite a bit of time in the Mojave Desert when I was traveling for work, and in Joshua Tree in particular. Driving, hiking, and even renting an adobe bungalow for a night. As the writer/director Tim Kirkman says in the below video, there’s something magical about Joshua Tree. It’s so stark and scraggly and beautiful, so whimsical and isolating. Being out there, climbing the rocks and touching those weird trees, was one of those deeply profound moments where loneliness is beautiful. This movie brought back some of those feelings. Actually, watching this movie punched me in the feelings.


A Closer Look at Lazy Eye

I immediately connected with Dean. You could feel how lost he is from the moment he first spoke. Throughout the movie he struggles with passion versus pragmatism, which I think all creative types (probably all humans, period) struggle with as they get older. When do you have to put aside your idealism for realism? Is there a way to get what you truly want – if you can even figure out what that is – without sacrificing your livelihood? It’s something I’ve tried to figure out for myself, and fully half of my conversations with my peers are about the same thing. If you can narrow down what you truly want, what really makes you happy, is there a way to actually get it? Or do we all have to settle?

The whole “one that got away” thing is another huge heartstring-puller for me, because I’m obsessed with what ifs. Not healthy, I know, and Dean kind of learns that as well. Reconnecting with people from your past isn’t always as satisfying as we want it to be, though Dean lucks out with Alex – to an extent. From the moment they see each other it’s like time folded in on itself and the fifteen years between their last meeting and their reunion disappeared. Physically they click immediately, and as the weekend goes on they talk so much and so deeply that even a waitress comments on how connected they seem.

keysmash movie review lazy eye promotional still alex dean bed

This movie is almost uncomfortably intimate. Not just the explicit scenes, either, but every moment between Dean and Alex. There is so much intense quiet that you pay attention to every detail of them: the way they breath, the sound of their skin touching, the precise inflection of every word. There are no distractions from the two of them together. One review said it makes you feel like you’re eavesdropping, and there is a voyeuristic quality to the way the movie is shot. It’s almost startling, but it’s also so lovely and poignant.

During one of their heavier conversations, Alex asks Dean if he’s happy. Dean never really answers the question, but you can tell he wants to say no. He wants more out of life. By the end of the movie it appears that he’s figured out how to get it, and it’s hopeful, but man did it make me sad. Sometimes hopeful endings fuck me up the most. In this case it really shredded the hopeless romantic who is maybe a little naive. Or maybe everyone will feel this way in the end.

I need more of you to watch so that I know. Please go watch?

keysmash movie review lazy eye one sheet
click for more info
Liz Keysmash
Follow Liz

Liz Keysmash

Liz has a ginger kitty named Thackery Binx who chirps like a bird and plays fetch like a dog. She reads a lot of slash, and writes a bit as well. She thinks she’s a good cook, she brews beer, she's a total nerd about baseball, she reads YA fiction, she has recently rediscovered her love of pop music, she swears like a sailor.
Liz Keysmash
Follow Liz