Credit: © 2011 Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charley Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead and Finola Hughes
WRITER(S): Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
DIRECTOR: Drake Doremus
THE PLOT: Winner of the Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) for Best Picture at the Sundance Film Festival, Like Crazy stars Felicity Jones as Anna. A British native attending college in California, she takes a liking to classmate Jacob Helm (Anton Yelchin), and the two are instantly smitten with one another. He has his goals (running his own furniture design business) as does she (working as a writer), but the one thing they have in common is their love for each other.
But when Anna encounters problems with her student visa, the couple will find their love tested to great extremes as they seek to find an answer to some of the world’s oldest cliches: Is it truly better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Or does love truly conquer all?
THE TAKE: Best described as snapshots of a couple enjoying the highs and lows of a modern relationship, Like Crazy is a very, very well-done film. The acting on the part of both Yelchin and Jones, in particular (who won the Special Jury prize for Dramatic Actress at the aforementioned Sundance Film Festival), is also quite phenomenal. You understand every single emotion, action and reaction taken (as well as those not taken or exhibited) each character makes and the subsequent joy/elation/confusion/sadness that results.
The chemistry between the two is dynamic and draws you in to the point you forget you’re watching actors. In turn, the movie stirs up your emotions without manipulating you to make you reach that point. Case in point: A friend of mine commented that it made her think about emotions she "had not thought about from a past relationship in years and was not ready to deal with."
Whenever a movie about a very common subject (in this case, love and romance) can do that, you have something special. Like Crazy is definitely a conversation film – as in every couple who goes to the movie together will likely be engaged in one about relationships – or more likely, their relationship – thereafter. While the film does not have the overall bleak feel (both in presentation and mood) of, say, a Blue Valentine, it is no less unflinching in examining the ins and outs of modern romance between young people.
Likewise, the camera work of director Drake Doremus (who co-wrote the film with Ben York Jones, who also appears in a minor role) is phenomenal, as the film feels almost like you’re spying on Anna and Jacob’s relationship without their knowledge. While you’re obviously aware you’re watching a movie, there are times you may find yourself forgetting that you are as you get wrapped up in the couple’s whirlwind romance.
Even the film’s ending is an exercise in the dichotomy of modern romance as the scene is shot as beautifully as Anna and Jacob’s relationship was in the beginning and open-ended as its future – and that, in a way, is a perfect note for it to conclude on under Doremus’ watch.
PARTING SHOT: An enthralling experience from start to finish, you’d be crazy to miss Like Crazy, unless you’re afraid your relationship can’t handle it.
RATING (OUT OF FOUR BUCKETS OF POPCORN):