British student Anna (Felicity Jones) falls in love with an American, Jacob (Anton Yelchin), overstays her visa, gets deported and so begins a whole series of angst, longing, love and despair. Shot on the fly with improvised dialogue, director Drake Doremus is going to encourage comparisons with Blue Valentine as Like Crazy has a similar natural, unstructured style. Sadly I didn’t like Blue Valentine that much…
Like Crazy certainly felt authentic, the characters seemed like real people with real, mundane problems and spoke in a genuine way. Unfortunately hanging out with a couple isn’t always a bundle of fun. When Anna and Jacob are at the height of their romance it can feel a little awkward, even irritating, as you watch them find each other adorable and share intimate moments together. The pair don’t even let us see the contents of the notes they pass together. How annoying. Later on when their relationship is put under the strain of forced separation, you get the sensation of watching friends forging on with a relationship you believe to be long dead, which leads us to the other issue I have; I didn’t want their relationship to succeed.
Felicity Jones is as wonderful as you’d expect but Anton Yelchin’s Jacob simply isn’t good enough for her. While Anna flies across the country and risks violating her student visa for Jacob, he can’t even pay her a visit without having a loud strop. In a romantic drama I need to want the romance to succeed or the whole experience can become quite frustrating. While Anna has appalling taste in men, Jacob is much more successful; I defy you to not fall for either Felicity Jones or Jennifer Lawrence by the end.
Jones and co. should be commended though for creating characters real enough for me to get so annoyed by their choices. Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead as Anna’s parents are not only a good source of comedy but the sole characters I fully empathised with for as they watched their daughter make a series of clumsy mistakes in her love life.
Like Crazy is a gorgeous film with great performances but left me unsatisfied. Though with this being a realistic portrayal of a love story, perhaps that was the point?
Like Crazy is in UK cinemas on 3rd February 2012.