Ah, young love. Like Crazy is the sort of film that will either have you reach for the sick bucket, or get you blubbing in the first 10 minutes due to the aching love on display. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are Jacob and Anna, who meet at an LA university while the British Anna is in the US on a student visa.
Falling deeply in love, Anna overstays the limit of her Visa and discovers that after she pops back to the UK for a short visit, she’s now banned from going back to the States. Their passion still burns, but with both of them building lives for themselves in different parts of the world and Jacob unable or unwilling to move to Britain, keeping their relationship going becomes increasingly difficult. They eventually try to take decisive action to get her into the US, but will it work?
With its indie sensibility and overwhelming theme of young love, Like Crazy is certainly the sort of film that will divide audiences. Just as many people will absolutely fall for the sweet, almost naïve love of the young leads as will find it all a bit nauseating and the characters irritating. Personally I’d go for the former, largely because Yelchin and Jones manage to find the basic truths of the largely improvised story – that young love can be overwhelming and that’s it’s often difficult to cling to that as you’re trying to build a life, especially at a distance.
The leads are wonderful, building a great intimacy that’s extremely relatable. It’s vitally important as the film’s style means we don’t really know a vast amount about them, relying on the audience empathising due to their own memories of being young and desperately in love. Jacob and Anna could be said to be a tad dull, but that’s partly down to the way the movie’s is put together, which is to take snapshot looks at the characters’ lives, so that you only see key moments and scenes that build the story of their relationship rather than bringing in their wider lives. It’s a style that feels real you young love, but will annoy those who demand a more traditional narrative.
I think it works surprisingly well, although I can see why it won’t be appreciated by some, especially those who don’t fall easily for romance. The flaw in this is that the tale gets less interesting as it goes on. The early parts of Jacob and Anna’s relationship is wonderfully handled, beautifully building their intimacy and love for one another. However once it gets bogged down in visa troubles it’s less absorbing, especially as it feels like it’s ignoring some potential answers to their problems. However this is a minor complaint, as for the most part it’s very well handled.
It should also be noted that while Jennifer Lawrence is on the cast list, fans of the Hunger Games star should note she’s hardly in the movie (it was filmed before she shot to fame), and just pops up occasionally as another potential love interest for Jacob.
Overall Verdict: Although it’ll divide audiences, if you can empathise with the aching romance of young love and the potential pain of long distance relationships, Like Crazy is a romantic treat.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac