Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2011, Like Crazy is an unconventional film about love, focussing on the anxiety and despair of separation.
British student at an LA college, Anna (Felicity Jones), and American design student Jacob (Anton Yelchin) instantly fall in love. But, dreading a summer of separation, Anna shortsightedly outstays her student visa and is banned from returning to the States. Their emotional connection is confronted with the realities of their physical separation as they struggle with ‘stopping and starting’ their relationship.
Directed by Drake Doremus, the cast of Like Crazy worked primarily from a screenplay outline, improvising the dialogue. This technique results in Like Crazy having an atmosphere of complete truthfulness. Awkward conversations, from Anna and Jacob’s first date, to a conversation about seeing other people, are laid bare not only through the dialogue but in what the actors do not say and in the interaction that happens in the space between the words. Through his film making choices, Drake Doremus creates a sense of intimacy with the characters that in turn makes for an uncomfortable but satisfyingly honest film. At times, Like Crazy verges on disturbing as the audience can do nothing but watch the freshness of first love evolve into despair.
For her role as Anna, Felicity Jones was awarded the 2011 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Acting. Her performance is a persuasive one. Jones’ Anna is vulnerable and complicated. In a conversation with her editor, Anna declares ‘I don’t feel very young’. Jones and her co-star Anton Yelchin build this sense of weariness with subtlety.
Like Crazy is also accompanied by a fitting score from Dustin O’Halloran and songs by Stars and Paul Simon. This musical element adds a further layer of magic to Like Crazy evoking the complex emotions that co-exist with love.
Like Crazy has a compelling story, persuasive cast and offers the audience truthful and honest insights. Well worth the ticket price.
VERDICT: ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ & 1/2