“Like Crazy” engages audiences with tale of young love
By Colton Dunham
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Drake Doremus
Written by: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Every once in a while, there is a romantic drama released in cinemas worldwide that isn’t formulaic.
“Like Crazy”, directed by Drake Doremus, doesn’t follow that simple structure of classic Hollywood romance films.
Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the low budget film earned exceptional reviews, generated buzz from spectators and even won the festival’s grand jury prize.
Since then, film enthusiasts have been anticipating the picture’s theatrical release because of its promise for a romantic drama that will tug at the heartstrings rather than insult your intelligence.
The film showcases the blossoming romance of two young college kids and their struggle as conflict arises.
The film’s stars include Anton Yelchin as Jacob, a student in furniture design, who is instantly captivated by the charm of Anna (Felicity Jones), a British journalism student completing her degree in Los Angeles.
The pair is first seen together in a college lecture.
Anna reads an essay to the class and she can’t help but notice Jacob sitting across from her.
She later leaves a handwritten note stating “please don’t think I’m a nutcase” underneath Jacob’s windshield wiper.
Jacob certainly doesn’t think she’s a nutcase and calls her later that evening.
Thus begins the romance between the two.
As an audience member, you immediately sense their chemistry and only wish these two characters will remain together and live happily ever after.
Like any real relationship, there are complications.
As Jacob and Anna lay in bed looking deep into each other’s eyes, Jacob asks the daring question “What are we going to do after we graduate?” Anna is living in the country on a student visa set to expire.
Both Anna and Jacob know that Anna has to go back to the U.K., but Anna makes the decision to stay in Los Angeles.
At the end of the summer, they are met with devastating news that Anna has to go back to the U.K. because she has violated her student visa.
They are now faced with the complications of long-distance relationships.
The film effectively weaves through timelines to show the characters’ relationship, as they still greatly desire each other.
Is it a doomed romance? That’s for you to find out.
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones give convincing performances as the two leads.
Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”, “Charlie Bartlett”) has a unique quality that gives him a strong on-screen presence.
Felicity Jones is quite amazing in this film as Anna, an aspiring writer who struggles to move on from Jacob when she is back in the U.K. There is no doubt in my mind that Felicity Jones is a name we will be hearing and reading about for years to come.
What I find alarming is that Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones met only a day or two before filming began so the two adapted their roles rather well.
Yelchin and Jones are great actors and deserve the critical acclaim they are receiving worldwide.
The film uses a large amount of improvisation, a technique used by filmmakers to achieve more real moments rather than staged moments.
Director Doremus delivers his strongest and most personal directorial effort so far.
“Like Crazy” is directed with maturity and understanding of long-distance romance and its constraints.
The film consists of details and moments that derive from screenwriters Drake Doremus’ and Ben York Jones’ own experiences with a long-distance relationships throughout their lives.
It’s that very reason why the film feels so personal and authentic.
Doremus has a long career ahead of him if he keeps improving his skills in future directorial efforts.
The film is shot relatively low key, yet manages to be impressive and beautiful.
Some scenes were filmed with a Canon 7D digital camera, a piece of equipment used in modern film production.
If you see this film, don’t expect a light-hearted romantic drama or comedy.
The film’s deeply personal story of young romance might leave you feeling heartbroken because of its realism.
It is slow moving, but if you have patience you will be quickly drawn into the story.
Throughout the film you start to wonder if the pair would stay together, but as the film comes to a close, you question if they should remain together.
FINAL RATING: 4/5