Like Crazy (Paramount Vintage, PG-13)

like-crazy smWhen Jacob and Anna are apart, it is painful, not just for them but for us, as well. We want to see them together—no, we need to.

 

  

When Jacob and Anna are apart, it is painful, not just for them but for us, as well. We want to see them together—no, we need to.

Before we begin, I need to make an admission. There are two young actors whom I respect so much that I go in expecting to love their movies. Anton Yelchin is one; Joseph Gordon-Levitt the other. Both of these guys are such good actors, such affable personalities, that I know I’ll receive nothing short of a stellar performance from each. (Gordon-Levitt’s recent turn in 50/50 is proof of that.)

In Like Crazy, Yelchin plays Jacob, a college senior close to graduation when we meet him. There, he meets Anna (Felicity Jones), a British girl on a student visa, after she leaves a rambling and, we assume, charming note on his car. The two soon fall in love, their chemistry fully believable and almost palpable.

The problem is that Anna’s student visa is set to expire after graduation. The night before she is to return to the United Kingdom, Anna decides she can’t leave Jacob, that she will stay through the summer. The two are inseparable, which we’re shown through a series of shots much like a music video. Finally, at the end of the summer, she must return to her home country. She embarks on a career in journalism at a magazine; back in America, Jacob quickly builds a profitable business designing furniture.

Anna returns for a long-awaited visit, calling Jacob the moment her plane lands. When he arrives at the airport, he finds that Anna has been detained for overstaying her visa. Told she cannot re-enter the United States until the issue is resolved, she is returned to England without even seeing Jacob. It turns out that correcting such a violation is a long and expensive process. Through Jacob’s aching visits to England, the two reunite again and again, cautiously and carefully. Finally, they must accept the facts: Anna’s move back to the States isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

And there begins a long process of reality versus love. Not being able to be together is too painful. The two begin to see other people, staying distant friends while trying to forget their deep feelings for one another. There is some back and forth, as the two reunite and re-separate. An opportunity to speed up the visa process presents itself; after some consideration, the two take it. Additional frustrations and delays ensue.

When Jacob and Anna are apart, it is painful, not just for them but for us, as well. We want to see them together—no, we need to. We know that love always trumps difficulty. At least, we think we know this.

After a film’s worth of rooting for the couple, we must finally come to the realization that Jacob isn’t the guy we’d wanted him to be. He has selfishly asked his girlfriend to go through the long and difficult process, to leave her job and her family, without taking the obvious solution himself and moving to England.

An especially noteworthy aspect of the film is that there was no true script. Rather, the actors ad-libbed their dialogue, their emotions, their relationship. And it works; it truly, truly works. Their love and feelings are entirely believable and natural. Yelchin and Jones are to be commended for fully becoming and portraying their characters, filling them with words that are always appropriate to the situation.

Like Crazy has already garnered film festival honors. The movie won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic this year, and Jones was awarded a Special Prize: Dramatic. Director Drake Doremus has created an addicting, engaging, and sympathetic film that is well worth your time and ticket price. Now go. | Laura Hamlett


About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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