Monday, September 03, 2012

Like Crazy

Directed by Drake Doremus and written by Doremus and Ben York Jones, Like Crazy is the story of two college students who fall in love in Los Angeles as they become a couple until one of them has to return to Britain as they try to salvage their relationship.  The film explores young love as well as long-distance relationship between two young people.  Starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston, and Finola Hughes.  Like Crazy is a ravishing yet heartfelt romantic drama from Drake Doremus.

At a university in Los Angeles, Jacob (Anton Yelchin) meets British exchange student Anna (Felicity Jones) where the two fall in love as they become a couple.  When the semester is about to end as Anna has to return to Britain for the summer, Anna chooses to stay in the U.S. for the summer with Jacob as the two continue their whirlwind romance.  After going back to Britain to visit her parents (Oliver Muirhead and Alex Kingston), Anna returns to Los Angeles where she is stopped by customs over her visa as she is banned from the U.S. and forced to return to Britain.  Jacob and Anna try a long-distance relationship where Anna’s parents hire a lawyer to deal with immigration ban as the two each venture into their individual pursuits.

With Anna working for a magazine and Jacob starting his furniture business, the two meet again when Jacob travels to London to visit Anna where her father suggests the two marry to help lift the band.  Jacob returns to the U.S. where he starts a relationship with his co-worker Samantha (Jennifer Lawrence) while Anna continues to work as she struggles with her feelings for Jacob.  Jacob also starts to miss Anna as he returns to Britain to marry her where things eventually get more complicated over the legalities of the ban leading to more issues with the two.  With Jacob back in the U.S., Anna would forge a relationship with her neighbor Simon (Charlie Bewley) as she becomes confused over everything when she and Jacob receive news about the ban.

Young love between two people is a special kind of love as it’s just about being together and having fun.  For these two young people from different countries, their love is so powerful that it would make them do something that is risky when this young woman decides not to return home to Britain and stay in America a bit longer.  This would set up a series of complications that would test their relationship as they struggle to deal with their feelings for each other while they would seek their own individual pursuits that includes dating other people.

The screenplay explores the dynamics between Jacob and Anna as their relationship is a very captivating one as they’re both very young and share interests including the music of Paul Simon.  The first act is about the blossoming of their relationship while the second act is about them trying to maintain the long-distance relationship and date other people where they would struggle with their feelings for one another.  Then comes this third act that begins with them being married as they struggle with the complications of the immigration ban and themselves as it raises questions about their relationship.

Drake Doremus’ direction is engaging for the way he captures a relationship as he aims for a style that is observes this relationship.  Shot largely in Los Angeles and in London with handheld cameras, Doremus makes sure that the audience is intrigued by the blossoming of the relationship where there’s a lot of playful compositions and moments that is thrilling.  By the film’s second half, Doremus creates moments where the individual lives of Jacob and Anna show remarkable differences of where their heading.  When they’re together, the relationship isn’t obviously close as Doremus is always having the camera fixed on someone to display some form of tension or discomfort that is happening.  Even with the film’s ending where it reveals a lot on what’s happening while displaying very little action.  Overall, Doremus creates a very fascinating and compelling romantic drama.

Cinematographer John Guleserian does excellent work with the film‘s photography from the sunny look of the exteriors in London and Los Angeles to the stylish array of lights for its nighttime setting.  Editor Jonathan Alberts does fantastic work with the editing by creating a stylistic approach through jump-cuts and fade-outs to play out the evolution of the relationship.  Production designer Katie Byron and art director Rachael Ferrara do superb work with the set pieces such as the apartments that Jacob and Anna live in as well as the hotel room they stay at in Santa Monica.

Costume designer Mairi Chisholm does nice work with the costume to keep things casual while creating an array of stylish clothes for Anna.  Sound designer Andy Hay and sound editors Jesse Pomeroy and Paul Stanley do terrific work with the sound from the atmosphere of the parties the character encounter to the intimacy of their conversations.  The film’s music by Dustin O’Halloran is wonderful for its plaintive and melancholic piano-driven score to play out the sense of longing in the relationship.  Music supervisor Tiffany Anders creates a soundtrack that features an array of music ranging from electronic and pop as it includes music from M83 and Paul Simon.

The casting by Eyde Belasco is brilliant for the ensemble that is created as it features appearances from Finola Hughes as Anna’s boss, Charlie Bewley as Anna’s London boyfriend Simon, Oliver Muirhead and Alex Kingston as Anna’s parents, and Jennifer Lawrence in a low-key yet fine performance as Jacob’s American co-worker/girlfriend Samantha.  Finally there’s the duo of Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as they both give very incredible performance in their respective roles as Jacob and Anna.  Even as they provide a lot of emotional weight to their characters as they long for each other while becoming unsure of themselves as both Yelchin and Jones display a great chemistry with each other.

Like Crazy is a stellar yet captivating romantic film from Drake Doremus that is led by the superb performances of Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones.  The film is definitely a very interesting piece for the way it explores young long-distance relationships as well as the complications that is furthered by immigration laws.  In the end, Like Crazy is a smart and exhilarating film from Drake Doremus.

© thevoid99 2012


Anonymous said...

I may be alone on this one but I really liked this because I thought it captured the feeling of being in love quite well. There was just something that these two felt for one another that worked for me and I guess that's where my positives for this movie came from. Still, some moments were more schmaltzy than others. Good review Steve.

thevoid99 said...

I don't mind schmaltz material if it's earned though the film was actually much more realistic due to the situations that was happening. I was surprised a bit by the third act of how dark it kind of got but it was enough to win me over.

Nick said...


Nick from here. Doing some scout work for the LAMB. We're wanting to make an email newsletter for community features as well as a list we're making similar to Sight & Sound's best movies of all time list. Just need an email! Email me at npowe131 at

thevoid99 said...

@Nick-OK, I'll do that.

Diana said...

I've been wanting to see this for a long time and now I've finally got the DVD- I can't to watch it- love story and a good script? I am in :)

thevoid99 said...

@Diana-I hope you enjoy it. It's really a cut above most romantic movies.