Published Nov 03, 2011Director Drake Doremus has always made movies imbued with youth (Douchebag), a quality that permeates Like Crazy with excitement, exuberance and naivety. Echoing films like Blue Valentine or 500 Days of Summer, it's crammed with nostalgia, but offers blithe changes in direction and tone, giving it a magic simplicity that propels it beyond being average.
Anna (Felicity Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) are two scrawny Los Angeles lovertines forced into a long distance relationship when Anna violates her student visa and is forced to return to the UK. They look how you would expect two louche hipsters to look, with their un-ironic T-shirts, high-waist skirts, skinny ties and scruffy hair, all of which is complemented by their ardent love of Paul Simon. But they individually make their presence known as the tranquil acoustics of their innocent summer affair descend into the shouts and yelps of trans-Atlantic matrimony, finally graduating to screams of distance.
As far as performances go, Jones and Yelchin are luminous, awash with warmth and chaos. Their improvisational approach to character creation is (thankfully) devoid of overwrought dialogue that wastes the audience's time. Their motivations, thoughts and feelings are easily deciphered through their careless glances and awkward silences, gauzed through the sepia tints and fading memories of their once gutsy passion.
Director Doremus takes a jumble sale approach to filmmaking: shivering frames, primal colours, dulcet, tear-jerk montages and rambling, ambient, improvised chatter. It's all playful though, and his precise vision for Anna and Jacob is one led entirely by the heart. The ambiguous denouement is very intentional, and the film is much better for it.
Like Crazy is for lazy summer days when you're caught in the reminiscence of scraped knees, screaming tantrums and waves of slumber, which may or may not be a warning shot to idealistic lovers everywhere. (Paramount)