Movie Review: Like Crazy

Films opening this weekend:
Happy Feet Two - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Quaker, Hollywood Regals; Flix - REVIEW
Like Crazy - North Park Dipson
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Quaker, Hollywood Regals; Flix; Transit Drive-In

How much is one summer of euphoric love worth? To Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones), the world. Courted through a shy, sweet process of stolen looks and a mix of intellectual and sexual longing, these two college students begin a whirlwind affair without regard for the legalities of her eventual return to England once her student visa expires. Bureaucratic nonsense like that couldn't be farther from their minds as a relationship builds, improves, and cements itself as the great true love story of their lives. But when the time comes for her return home—just a two-month summer—lust, love, and desire keep her from leaving. It's an error of judgment that will follow them for almost a half decade.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Drake Doremus' Like Crazy paints Jacob and Anna's partnership as one worth a fight. With brilliant sequences like a time lapse of their sprawled bodies motionless in sleep each morning of their illegal summer, Doremus tells this emotional romance in charged snapshots jumping through time.

Told linearly with gaps aplenty, the film fills in its spaces by the powerfully composed script and charming performances from its cast. As time moves on, Jacob and Anna detach to start anew. We'll catch Jacob kissing a new girlfriend in Sam (Jennifer Lawrence) and Anna in the arms of Simon (Charlie Bewley), but it doesn’t take long before one flips the toggle on their phone to text the other how much he/she misses him/her. These quick bursts through time help us stay invested in the romance.

Co-written with the director by Ben York Jones, there is an authenticity in the script that can often fall prey to convenience and cliché. I won't say it’s above these issues, but I will say it has a knack to overcome them. By fleshing out these two young lovers into successes—he a self-employed furniture designer and she a junior editor for a British magazine—we are able to appreciate their bond as stronger than fame and fortune.

Similar in tone and process as another romance from earlier this year, One Day, there is something more real in these lead characters. Yelchin is a bit stiff at times, but his evolution is never forced. Anna’s own frustration begs her to give up, since her inability to leave England doesn’t prevent Jacob from leaving America. Although a plot hole of sorts to barely mention this alternate possibility, the dynamic does allow Jones to shine in her added self-pity. A winner at Sundance herself of the Special Jury Prize for acting, this young Brit is a revelation—sweet, funny, radiant, and completely lovable.

And whether the two end up together or not at the end, Doremus never panders to the audience. An open-ended finale as true to form as the film itself, Like Crazy’s final Polaroid is possibly its best.

Like Crazy 8/10 | ★ ★ ★

[1] Anton Yelchin as Jacob and Felicity Jones as Anna in Paramount Pictures' Like Crazy.
[2] Felicity Jones star as Anna in Paramount Pictures' Like Crazy.


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