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Like Crazy

Like Crazy

Released 27 January 2012
Director Drake Doremus

Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead

Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones

Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling
Origin United States
Running Time 90 minutes
Genre Drama, romance
Rating 12A

Crazy in love.

Like Crazy is the kind of earnest, indie romance beloved of the Sundance Festival, in which arty, pretty young things bond over their mutual love of Paul Simon and spend far too much time staring wordlessly at each other. The lovers in this case are students Anna and Jacob (Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin). The pair meet while both studying in Los Angeles and quickly fall for each other. After graduation, English Anna is reluctant to return home and violates her student visa for two months. When she tries to return to America, the violation comes back to haunt her and she finds herself excluded from the country and unable to get back to Jacob. So begins a long distance relationship which begins to take its toll on their strong bond.

It’s tricky to portray young love on screen; to get that excess of feeling, that life and death stuff right on the money without tipping into Dawson’s Creek territory. For the most part, Like Crazy manages to tread this difficult line between sentiment and histrionics and the navel-gazing meter only occasionally tips into the red. This is thanks both to an economical script and to the trump card of its casting. Yelchin and Jones are both talented young actors and have a natural chemistry with each other, making the relationship between Anna and Jacob sweetly believable rather than toe-curling.

Like the performances, the direction from Drake Doremus is low-key but attractive. Produced on a shoe-string, the constraints of the budget have actually been beneficial, giving it a more intimate aesthetic. There is good use of light throughout, from night-time neon to sun-dappled days. Where the film suffers is actually in the repetitive nature of the plot, which follows a cyclical stream of separations and reconnections as the couple fight immigration and each other. Eventually all the breaking up and making up gets a little tedious.

Still, on the whole Like Crazy is a sweet and involving watch. It may not have the power of last year’s big Sundance relationship hit Blue Valentine, but it could perhaps be thought of fondly as its younger, more idealistic sibling.

- Linda O’Brien