Film Review: Like Crazy
Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin play two twentysomethings who fall in love at university in Los Angeles. But everything takes a turn for the worse when Anna makes a rather ill-judged decision to stay in America with Jacob for a summer of love, rather than returning home as required by her visa. Returning to the US after a short trip home, she is refused entry for violating her visa conditions. Denied access to each other, Anna returns to London and a job at a magazine while Jacob sets up a furniture business in Santa Monica. The film follows the couple as they go about their lives and try to continue their on-off relationship on separate continents as US immigration authorities and bureaucracy keep them apart. They try to go their separate ways and see other people, but can never quite let go. As the couple get closer to being together again, they increasingly find that they may never recapture the love and romance of their first months together.
Like Crazy is a surprisingly affecting and intelligent film which provides a more realistic and believable love story than I was expecting, even 30 minutes into the film (cynical old me?). Much of the dialogue is improvised and many of the scenes make tense and uncomfortable viewing as Anna and Jacob confront the realities of their separation. Both actors play their parts well, showing in parts the happiness, frustration, confusion and awkwardness of any relationship, which are amplified by their impossible situation. They are ably supported by great turns from the rest of the cast, in particular Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead as Anna’s surprisingly understanding and fun parents.
Such a film lives or dies on making you believe in and feel for the couple at its centre. Like Crazy manages this on the strength of its performances despite some annoyances: why can’t Jacob move his furniture business to London if he loves Anna so much? How do they afford such amazing flats straight out of university? If only I could find such a nice flat so cheaply in London…
Despite this, Like Crazy did a great job of pulling me into the film and the lives of its protagonists. You can really believe in the couple and their problems. A less intelligent film might have ended with the problems resolved, the trials and tribulations overcome as love conquers all. But instead it has no such grandiose finish, showing that life does not always live up to the promise of young love. Maybe it’s just me, but it is refreshing to see a film where life does not live up to the expectations of love, something we all surely have more experience of than the perfect romance.
Film watched at the Holloway Odeon, as first meet-up of the year.