Love. It can be wonderful, it can be maddening. Especially if your girlfriend lives in England and is barred from entering the United States due to a visa violation. Damn illegal British immigrants. Trying to take our jobs, use our resources. And they talk funny. Despite that, Like Crazy is one of the most romantic movies to come along in a long time.
Anna and Jacob meet in college and quickly fall in love. Blinded by passion, Anna decides to violate her student visa to stay with Jacob just a little while longer. After a visit home, she tries to return to the United States only to be denied entry. Years pass and Anna and Jacob drift apart, each starting relationships with new people (how does Anton Yelchin land Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence?), and yet they repeatedly are drawn back together, unable to escape their feelings for one another.
Directed and co-written by Drake Doremus, Like Crazy is a beautiful and mesmerizing tale of young romance that looks and feels like it could truly exist. Unlike most romantic movies that hit the big screen, Doremus and co-writer Ben York Jones paint a deep and emotional story that relies less on specific events than it does on the nuanced feelings and expressions of its two stars.
Jones and Yelchin have great chemistry together. Jones is terrific, her character adorable, sexy, down-to-earth, funny and serious all at once. Anna wears her emotions on her sleeves, and yet she's strong and career-driven; Jones truly brings the young, modern woman to life in all the right ways. Yelchin is also excellent. Not traditionally attractive, Yelchin plays the ordinary guy, who has awkward, realistic charm and a unique sincerity to him, better than most (we'll ignore the fact that Jacob lives and works in his carpentry shop, his one Hollywood-esque attribute).
Like Crazy is simultaneously frustrating and alluring. You feel the frustration of the characters and their circumstances, and are drawn into their small-yet-so-far-apart world. You want them to end up together, but this isn't a traditional Hollywood romantic drama; you don't know for sure that the film will end in that way.
Speaking of the ending, the film's one weakness is its final few seconds. I'm not sure what to make of it, and perhaps that's the point; nevertheless, it feels oddly out of place, even if it's the ending the movie deserves. Whether the audience deserves it is another matter.
Like Crazy is a beautifully directed and superbly written drama that stars two engaging young leads. The movie has been largely ignored by audiences - primarily due to its limited theatrical release - which is a shame. Like Crazy is one of the most romantic movies to hit the big screen in years. I'm still waiting for a film to directly tackle the problem of illegal British immigrants, however.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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