Like Crazy - 2011’s Blue Valentine
Written: May 13, 2012
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:stellar acting from Felicity Jones and especially Anton Yelchin, great directing
Cons:at times slow, at times cheesy, but important points made
The Bottom Line: A reflection of maybe our own society's jaded views on love, Like Crazy is a telling piece on all the naieveness of young love and its consequences.
On first glance, Like Crazy’s trailer, replete with snippets of sappy footage between two young lovers, seemed vomit-worthy to me, but finally having experienced the film itself, it’s more than just a boy meets girl story. Yes, this is officially in a sense, 2011’s Blue Valentine, and what I mean by that is this is a tale that praises the emotional satisfaction we take from love as humans, but then points grimly to the underlying disappointment and difficulty as the emotional rush begins to fade. But instead of examining a couple on the verge of tear, Like Crazy starts at the very beginning, with a British college student, Anna (Felicity Jones) falling in love with an American furniture design student, Jacob (Anton Yelchin). The two find their love tossed about by many real world difficulties, the sheer distance of their love, the demands of their careers, and the need to be with someone in the gaps between. It becomes an increasingly complicated picture as her previous overstay on her visa begins to impede her ability to visit him, and his career needs hold him back from staying with her in the U.K. While some of these problems might at times seem overdramatized, I can somewhat sympathize with their quibbles as I have had actual friends involved in rather similar situations, where a tradeoff between career or relationship is present, and in our times, career is starting to edge in front.
What makes Like Crazy more than your average genre piece (say Love Actually) is the extremely delicate directing by Drake Doremus. He uses a lot of short shots, but all of them meaningful, and very frequently you can see he is trying his darnest to tell you the story with action and body language, while demphasizing dialog. These segments beautifully frame important objects in each scene. For example, a chair that Jacob gifts Anna is seen in scenes supporting their love, and absent when she begins her interim relationship with Simon (non-spoiler detail- as this is all conveyed in the trailer). Doremus directs as a well-equipped writer operates within his craft, foreshadowing with imagery, utilizing space within the scenes to drive home a sense of distance, physical, literal and emotional in every scene as their relationship goes on a bumpy ride. The details are at times just ingenious, especially in a shot where Anna is escorting Jacob to the airport for the first time, and they are sitting across from each other instead of next to each other, the small gap between them within the train like the same invisible barrier that divides them by continents. Other tactics, like time-warps forward keep the story thankfully moving, as they begin to explore other relationships, but still never find anything that surpasses the high euphoric love they felt when they first met each other. Does it live up to the hype? That is the burning question left by Like Crazy.
This film reflects our modern society’s views on love so well, because it re-examines that romantic la-la land that our increasingly cynical society has become detached to. Often times you might find yourself asking why Jacob just doesn’t move over to the U.K. if his love is so real, but that’s just it, akin to our society’s own views, while we thirst for love, we don’t always make the sacrifices needed for it. So that’s how Jacob and Anna’s love ends up becoming, recorded and romanticized over their years apart, as they become convinced that those moments were the best moments of their lives. That fiction is what makes the film such a cut above the rest, because as it closes, you are left wondering if the sacrifices they made will be justified, and if they can keep believing in their love. Highly recommended, particularly for indie film fans, as this runs a slightly slower pace than most. Also, a whole lot of story is already given out in the trailer, as it is the typical boy meets girl motif, and you really just have to experience it to understand it.
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