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Ten Word or Less Review: The woeful romances of white people.

Love is an exemplary thing when the hardships of life don’t get in the way to muck up two peoples state of bliss.  Such is the story running through Like Crazy, a authentic feeling exploration of two people who seemed destined to be bound together for the rest of their lives, but can’t iron out the logistics of life to make it happen.  Maybe they should have called UPS for help.

Anna and Jacob are two college students edging toward graduation.  Anna (Felicity Jones) is small and gorgeous and a poet at heart.  She wants to have a career in writing and woos Jacob on their first date with her longing glances and prose.  Jacob (Anton Yelchin) is a design student with his sights set on making high quality furniture in a business all his own.  The two make the kind of perfect couple which in real life would drive many to a sickening state of envy.  She teaches him about whiskey.  He makes her a chair.  He’s smitten.  She swoons.  Love is heavy in the air, Paul Simon sings, everything should be hunky dory.  But there’s a rub.  Anna is British and as graduation looms her government mandated return to England threatens to put their relationship on hold for months.  Throwing caution to the wind she overstays her visa and creates an issue which will come to cripple their relationship in ways they never thought possible.  Love can conquer many things but it has a hard time standing up to cold, dispassionate bureaucracy.

Like Crazy’s look into contemporary romance among well intentioned, well educated but inexperienced lovers works as insightful, genuine character drama.  Anna and Jacob are believable, very charismatic and intelligent individuals but they are not unselfish or perfect.  The two are understandably drawn together but despite the clear attraction and bond, neither can help but muddy the waters when separated from the other.  With he in America and she in England, and that nasty, inflexible visa issue separating them, their relationship ebbs and flows as both give into dalliances with others.  He falls into a relationship with a coworker (Jennifer Lawrence), she gets involved with a handsome neighbor (Charlie Bewley).  Their relationship keeps straining under the weight of life and distance and neither of them can quite make the sacrifices necessary to make things work out for themselves.  Jacob doesn’t want to move to England.  Anna can’t move to America.  Why Jacob can’t make chairs in England is kind of glossed over.  These elements of selfishness and impatience between the two paint a more believable and complete portrait of love when we are not quite adults.  Grown up yes, but still riddled with need and not as selfless as we like to think we are.

Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin make an eloquent onscreen duo, forming a tightly bound and touching chemistry together.  They, and the movie itself to some extent, echo the relationship of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in the Before Sunrise/Sunset films.  Much of the work here was improvised by the both of them, along with director/writer Drake Doremus, and they show insightful instincts as performers.  Despite the inability of either of them to remain true enough to their cause, they understand what they’re losing by their actions.  At its end when the hurdles have finally been cleared away for the two of them to be together, too much time and life has passed.  They’re bureaucratic problems are swept away to at last allow them to wind up in each others arms but once in the others embrace they have nothing to hang onto but a memory of what they briefly once had.  Loves fleeting greatness hangs heavy.

Like Crazy will vex fans of typical movie romances.  Cliches which make the genre stupid and insufferable like tearful rain soaked confessions, icky pop tunes, rushing off through the city to catch someone before they get on a plane and confessing love in front of a large group of people who suddenly care are all thankfully nowhere to be found.  Like Crazy avoids the dishonest shams so often wrapped up in stories like this, instead wanting to examine a great love not meant to be and how it got that way.


One Comment

  1. I really liked your review on Like Crazy, even though I haven’t watched this movie you made me want to see it. If I was truly in love with someone I would move anywhere to be with them and create a business there! If I was Anna I definitely would expect my lover to move with me without a doubt. But that’s just my opinion and things do happen when you still are a selfish kid. I can’t wait to watch this movie now; you got me all excited to watch it. Luckily I ordered it the other day on Blockbuster @Home and it arrived in the mail today. I love true love stories, especially the undying, everlasting love, but I also enjoy watching the bittersweet love. It kind of balances each other out. I have a feeling I am going to watch this movie more then once, and good thing I don’t have to return it right away.

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