Monday, November 7, 2011

Movie Review: "Like Crazy"

Admittedly, I've been really inconsistent in reviewing movies on my blog. The truth is, I've seen some pretty fantastic movies so far this year, and as the end of the year approaches (which is the time all studios start premiering their "Oscar-worthy" movies), I know I'll see a ton more great films.

Two weekends ago, in fact, we saw two terrific independent movies—Take Shelter, an odd, somewhat disturbing movie with breathtaking performances from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain (in her fourth movie of 2011, after Tree of Life, The Help and The Debt), and Weekend, a wonderful, emotionally compelling movie about two guys who meet at a gay bar one Friday night and then spend the weekend together, talking about life and relationships, and trying to decide how much of themselves to share and lay bare.

But to get back to the subject at hand—Like Crazy. Having been to the movies so much these past few months, I think we saw the preview for this movie at least 10-15 times, so I had been eagerly anticipating it. This story of young, all-consuming love, and how it can and cannot flourish from a distance, was absolutely mesmerizing to me, although, as I've disclosed numerous times before, I'm a total sap (or hopeless romantic, depending upon how you look at it).

Anna (Felicity Jones, bringing steely strength and wavering emotion to her performance) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin, truly coming into his own) meet in their last year of college, while Anna is on a student visa from the UK. They fall utterly, completely, obsessively in love, until visa issues upon Anna's return to England force her to stay there. Caught between two countries, torn between needing to stay together and wanting to move forward with their lives, the movie flows through time quickly and chronicles the ebbs and flows of their emotions.

I found out after seeing the movie that director Drake Doremus based Like Crazy on a long-distance relationship he once had, but that there was no actual script for the movie; rather Doremus worked with Jones and Yelchin and the other cast members to improvise everything. And you'd never know it: the dialogue flowed naturally, the emotions were never forced, and not everything had tidy resolutions.

Some people have been lukewarm on the movie, but most have really loved it. I am firmly in the second camp. Especially if you love star-crossed love stories, see this. And in case you haven't seen the trailer, here it is:

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