Saturday, 28 January 2012

Like Crazy (2012) - review

Running Time: 90 mins
Directed By: Drake Doremus
Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead
Screenplay: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones
UK Release Date: 27th January  - UK

Quick Plot: While at college in LA, British student Anna falls for American student Jacob and overstays her visa to be with him. After visiting her family in England, Anna finds herself unable to enter America and is deported. Forcing the couple apart, they battle timezone differences, new jobs and friends to try and maintain their love for each other.

Review: A film focusing on the realistic power of young love is rarer than first thought. Drake Doremus’ Sundance winner Like Crazy grasps a truly believable story between a young couple as they come to terms with being apart after a summer of passion and sweet romance.

Shot with a held hand camera and a script mostly improvised by the actors, Like Crazy is realistic enough that it feels almost like a documentary. It’s as if there is a real Anna and Jacob who went through a long distance relationship. It could even be argued that there is, as Doremus revealed the story is based on his and co writer Ben York Jones own experiences of when they were younger. However, mostly it’s easily relatable; looking at a real life setting, characters and events, there is at least one part of Like Crazy people have been through or will go through in life.

Even though the premise of the film is easy to follow, it’s Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin who keep the story alive and engaging. By being given a rough outline of the story by Doremus, the pair delved into the characters minds and aspects using a lot of improvisation to bring Anna and Jacob together. Alone, they are great however on screen together are their best moments as little dialogue is needed. In simple touches, eye contact and actions they overpower the film in tenderness with not a clich├ęd line or moment in sight.

Like Crazy has the perfect balance of acting talents, while the main focus of the film remains on the leads, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead make a fine add on as Anna’s parents in a small role with a lot of meaning.

Without Jones and Yelchin’s passionate chemistry, the improvised script and gentle, realistic feel from the camera angles wouldn’t be enough for the film to survive as a sweet, indie romance. Luckily, their acting is the glue to it all, keeping it together over a few shabby moments. There are obvious flaws in the plot, where character decisions are foolishly considered or the rush of the story jumps from heartache to happiness and back again. It seems romantic that Anna would not return home in line with her student visa but realistically, you’d reconsider it as two months away from Jacob to then return without overstaying the visa is better than being deported and not being able to move back for a few years.

Furthermore, at times the characters seem irritably conceited and reckless. Actress of the moment Miss Jennifer Lawrence and a not so twilightly Charlie Bewley are used respectively as contrasts to Anna and Jacob as each one of the pair’s new interest in LA and London. They gain a lot of sympathy by being dumped and taken back when Anna and Jacob want them, which makes the lead characters a little off-putting and less relatable.

But it’s the realism the film holds which makes it so captivating. It’s not a sweet, happy tale of young love but an honest one. The couple’s strain after being separated is heightened in many ways over missing each other’s calls, questioning the trust of each other when they are absent and then once reunited.

Playing out away from the norm of romantic dramas, Like Crazy is about real young love and the print it leaves on all of us.

3.5/5

Like Crazy trailer
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