by Haley GoetzThere is no other contemporary film that explores modern romance as deeply as Like Crazy does. The movie tells the story of two college-aged lovers who become confined to their respective home countries due to visa troubles. Their relationship gets put to the ultimate test by the distance between them and the inevitable effects of time. Winner of the 2011 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Like Crazy is a romance film that truly matters. It touches the heart in such a raw and real way that it almost hurts, making it one of the most searing independent films about love to have ever been released.
Like Crazy is the second feature by Drake Doremus, a native Californian who showcases the light and beauty of Los Angeles throughout his film. He’s the youngest person to have ever studied at the prestigious American Film Institute, and this formative training is showcased in Like Crazy. Each shot is framed perfectly so as to capture the extent of what the characters are feeling. This approach allows for the plot to slow down in order for the inner emotions of the characters to be understood by the viewer. The reason this film works is because it’s based on a firsthand account, as Doremus lived through a situation exactly like the one in the film. This only works to the film’s advantage, as Doremus injects the honesty of his experience and has his actors portray exactly what he felt.
Anton Yelchin is very powerful in the role of Jacob. What I enjoy most about his performance is the fact that he doesn’t let any emotion go to waste. His Jacob is a man who is unafraid to show what he feels in the moment, however tearful it may be. The love he expresses for Anna (Felicity Jones) is determined, unapologetic, and fierce. A particularly harrowing scene involves Jacob rushing through the Los Angeles airport to pick up Anna, who is fresh off the plane from London. Anna isn’t allowed back in the United States because she overstayed her student visa. Watching their brief interaction at the airport is heartbreaking.
Felicity Jones (who plays the lead in the upcoming film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is incredible as Anna. While Jacob shows what he is feeling through his actions, Anna channels everything through words. She lets the honesty of the moment speak for itself, and this sincerity is what drives Jones’s performance throughout the film. Her emotions are definitely more on display than Jacob’s, but her abundance of feeling is justified. In addition to being stuck overseas, matters become worse when she gets into a relationship with a guy named Simon (Charlie Bewley) in London. He really likes her too, and she must decide if she wants to stay with him or go back to Jacob in California.
Like Crazy will screw you up. And I mean it will seriously play some games with your head about what love is and how intense it can get. But in the end, this is a film that should be watched and enjoyed. It proves that love is a hard thing to both experience and conquer. Jacob and Anna’s passion was worthwhile because it allowed them to explore themselves more than they ever would have otherwise.
5 out of 5 stars