Like Crazy is the genesis, the passion, and the heartache of a romance all wrapped into 90 minutes of film. Our two subjects are filmed as individuals at first and the cinematographer opts for a handheld camera approach to capture their moments together. The loosely woven narrative is based on director Drake Doremus’s own experiences with a transatlantic romance. In the film Jacob (Anton Yelchin) is an American college student living and going to school in L.A. After her heartfelt confession of affection, Jacob begins a relationship with the British-born Anna (Felicity Jones), who is in country on a student visa.
The film slowly evolves into a montage of their time together as they grow closer and closer. It’s a beautiful picture of tentative and affectionate love coming into bloom. And with her visa about to expire Anna decides to forgo it all and stay with Jacob. But the Visa issues come back to bite her and continue to give the couple problems. Soon they are separated by an entire ocean dealing with the many challenges of long distance relationships.
For Jacob, there’s another girl (Jennifer Lawrence). For Anna a guy down the hall who asks to borrow her appliances. It’s so much easier having these people in close proximity, and it challenges their wills. Because airfare is expensive and talking through text message just simply isn’t the same. It works at first but it seemingly is not sustainable.
Marriage seems like the best option for them to hold what they have together as Anna’s Visa problems still loom overhead. But it’s hardly a quick fix and over time there’s a breakdown in what they have. Even when they are together they have trouble connecting, not shouting, and not getting annoyed. Because, more often than not, they are apart now. The best they can do is wistfully remember the intimacy they had before and try and go forward from there.
Like Crazy generally stays away from the constricting effects and inflexibility of your typical plot line. The script was more of an outline and the dialogue was essentially the two leads ad-libbing most of their interactions. But this lends an organic quality to this, dare I say, trendy indie love story. There’s vast distance juxtaposed with intimate close-ups. Emotions embodied by images become paramount over words. In a sense, we see their nakedness and not literally, but we see that vulnerability in those most intimate times in a relationship, sharing bits of bliss together. Whether they are in Santa Monica or London, the scenery is only a place in which the two of them are having moments. The type of times they remember in the shower or while they sit in the bar with their friends, or when they sit doodling at their desk. It’s those times that make them want to make this thing work despite the distance. It’s a difficult trade-off and I’m doubtful anyone has found the precise answer for it. Because all the countless advances in technology cannot give us intimacy only imperfect substitutes that will never fully replace the real thing.
It is a great joy watching Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin play off of each other because aside from one occasion, their performances are quite subtle and refreshing. We even get an appearance from Jennifer Lawrence. For this reason, it’s fun to watch a film like this and see where the talents have gone in only a couple of years. The Theory of Everything, Star Trek, The Hunger Games. But there’s always a necessary niche for smaller films like this. I look forward to more takes on love from Drake Doremus and Felicity Jones has gained one new fan today.