By Darryl Griffiths
Nearly a year since charming the socks off the Grand Jury at the Sundance Film Festival, ‘Like Crazy’ finally lands on UK shores to portray the hardships of a young romance shifting back and forth relentlessly between LA and London.. I guess Katy Perry and Russell Brand better steer clear of eating this cinematic slice!
The transatlantic story kicks off in LA with Brummie born Felicity Jones (Cemetery Junction) as Anna. She’s over the pond at college because of her passion for writing but soon that passion finds a rival in the form of classmate and aspiring furniture designer Jacob (Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin). Various exchanges including a lengthy love note of declaration on a car windshield, a comfortable wooden chair and the use of the classic scrapbook trick, make it clear their touching relationship is prepared for the long haul.
The couple soon face complications when Anna is refused entry back into the US because she dared to breach the conditions of her student visa; resulting in their love affair grinding to an emphatic halt. Seeking comforts in the words of Anna’s too school for cool but hearty parents (Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead) doesn’t bring them solace and attractive alternatives for Anna and Jacob introducing themselves to proceedings (Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley), which adds a significant layer to their deepening angst. Will their love follow the fairytale template and overcome all obstacles?
Director Drake Doremus’ naturalistic and intimate style of shooting provides a commendable authenticity to the film (a hand on glass separation sequence being a particularly gorgeous highlight), intertwined with the believable and engaging chemistry of Yelchin and Jones proves to be a killer combo. It’s sharp in its portrayal of jealousy and longing but also devotes time to the perils of being on cloud nine; how the younger contingent of the world get so caught up in the excitement of love, they’re oblivious to how their occasionally foolish behaviour triggers the inevitable pressures and strains that come with relationships.
It may get slightly trapped within limitations of the genre especially on the road to its final stages but as the ambiguous ending proves, ‘Like Crazy’ has lots of depth. It’s refreshingly honest, so anyone dreading/expecting (delete as appropriate) the bog standard romantic comedy is in for a welcome shock. An understated gem!