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USA 2011
Directed by
Drake Doremus
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
3.5 stars

Like Crazy

Synopsis: Anna (Felicity Jones) is an English girl studying at a LA University. She meets Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and they fall instantly and passionately in love. When she is due to return home, she cannot bear to part from her lover and so overstays her visa. After a visit back to the UK, she is denied entry when she attempts to return to the US. So begin frustrating battles with immigration, and the challenges to their relationship. Can it weather the storm?

Like Crazy has won several hefty awards both for lead actress Jones, and for writer/director Doremus who took the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at Sundance. And not surprising, for this is indeed a gem of an indie film that captures a precious phase of life which is at once familiar for many but so often represented in a terribly hackneyed manner in mainstream films.

Doremus has on so many levels written an unerringly authentic script. What stands out for me is how I really believed that these two were soul mates, cleverly set up from the early scenes which show us a highly practical Jacob studying furniture design while Anna is more literary and given to writing poetry. He makes her a wonderful chair as a gift, and in some ways the solidity of the object serves almost as a leitmotif to represent their relationship as it comes under siege.  Threats come in the form of several break-ups, during which Anna dates the urbane Simon (Charlie Bewley) while Jacob teams up with work colleague Sam (Jennifer Lawrence). Although these relationships are seemingly good, some underlying deep-seated bond links Anna and Jacob across the miles and each one seems only to come truly alive when with the other.

The director pays careful attention to small daily-life detail and makes excellent use of montage in a couple of sequences, which depict the course of the first flush of their love. He credits the audience with enough intelligence to understand several moments, captured in still motion, that help move important plot points forward and makes good use of music, notably Graceland as the shared favourite album for the lovers. Full credit also goes to Doremus in that he leaves us with a rather ambiguous resolution; an ending which had me and my colleagues hotly debating the possible final outcome. (Save me from tidy Hollywood-style endings, please!)

Acting by all is top notch, especially the two leads. They manage to capture the arc of the relationship, as they both mature, settle into their respective lives whilst apart, respond to the passion when together, and make us, the audience, really invest ourselves in whether things will work out.

Cynics may scoff at young love and its travails but for me at least the film’s persuasive authenticity made it almost easy to remember what it felt like to be at that stage of life, with all its emotional intensity. Thank God I’m past it!!




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