Most of us with a certain number of years behind us have experienced it – that one love. That love that caught you off guard at first, tested your courage and boundaries, and started moving at break-neck speed too fast to control. That love so intense that all emotions related to it will follow you and be a part of your life forever, whether it blossoms to something beautiful over time or becomes a scar that you’re reminded of every day. Such raw emotion is not usually captured on film because words are not enough to portray the deepest inner-workings in the minds of lovers. These feelings are observed through body language, long silences and the conversations had between locked sets of eyes. One would have to dedicate an entire film to feelings this complex in an attempt to relate to the viewer.
Like Crazy does just that film.
The story jumps right into the first encounter between the two star-crossed college students Jacob (Anton Yelchin), a design student, and Anna (Felicity Jones), a journalism student from London. Anna is the first to make that gutsy move to reach out to Jacob in a letter expressing her feelings. When they meet outside of class, there’s an immediate connection that launches them into the unpredictable journey that is love. They eventually decide to spend all summer together, violating the restrictions of Anna’s student visa.
After flying back home to spend time with her parents, Anna is refused reentry to the United States and is flown directly back to London. Realizing that there will be no quick fixes to remedy the situation, Jacob and Anna must continue on with their lives while also attempting to hold on to what hope they can that their long-distance love will one day not be so long-distance. Time passes as the missed phone calls, sporadic text messages and arguments with immigration officials pepper the once care-free love that slowly develops into a sense of loss. Jacob visits Anna in London – a visit of excitement and elation that turn bittersweet when Jocob must return home pondering whether marriage could be a quick answer to their problems.
As it turns out, a hasty marriage isn’t the answer to everything. With all the distance in the world around them, different friends to spend time with, and focusing on leading their own successful lives while waiting for the reevaluation of Anna’s visa to complete, they slowly become different people. And other lovers come along. Job opportunities open up. But moving on is never as easy as it sounds – a seemingly invisible force continues to bring these two together as they obsess over one another and the love they once had.
This is a film about not just love, but all the other emotions that come along with being in love… and losing that love. Love is just the catalyst that brings on the whirlwind of emotions in their most potent forms – despair, sense of loss, anger, confusion, jealousy, hope and hopelessness. One can’t help but be taken along on this emotional journey with these two young lovers and feel every intense emotion up until the last shot of the film. For some, it may be the first time experiencing such a broad range of emotions – for others, this story is a re-living of past experiences… and that’s what makes this film so relatable.
Anton and Felicity do an amazing job, effortlessly expressing the love and every other feeling that their characters embody. You believe in their love, their anxiousness, their sadness. Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead are a witty, grounding and comfortable couple playing Anna’s parents Jackie and Bernard (respectively). Everyone wants parents as understanding and fun-loving as these.
The dialogue is perfect in that it never comes across as too dramatic or scripted. Every word, whether spoken vocally or through the depths of someone’s eyes, feels completely natural – these are the words you would use if put into the same situation(s) as Jacob and Anna. The photography is mostly hand-held and close to the actors, never straying too far from their faces as to capture the emotion in their expressions, eyes and body language. This visual closeness to the characters breaks down the sensory walls that remind us we’re watching a movie.
Having experienced every emotion I could handle in less than two hours, I walked away from Like Crazy feeling as though I had been punched in the gut… and the lingering questions brought on by the last shot of the film left me wanting more of it.