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Like Crazy

by

Jeff Nelson

See this with no expectations and you just might find yourself quite invested in this romantic drama.

Like Crazy
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Each year, there are a bunch of films that are released after appearing in the Sundance Film Festival. A lot of buzz, whether it be positive or negative, is spread after the movies have been shown within the festival. I have never personally attended one of the events planned by Sundance, although movie studios release them under their distribution months, sometimes even a year later. The feature film Like Crazy won the Grand Jury Dramatic Prize. This is most certainly a large honor. Paramount Pictures picked up the distribution rites and have finally released it to Blu-ray and DVD. Most of my readers are probably a little bit surprised that I was actually excited to check this one out due to the fact that I am not generally a fan of romantic dramas. In fact, I never even watched the trailer. I read the synopsis and heard a lot of positive hype surrounding it. Every long once in a while, I find romantic dramas or comedies that really stand out in their genres. I was hoping to find a gem out of Like Crazy, as so many other viewers did. Upon its release to other moviegoers, it received mixed reviews. If you've seen other Sundance romantic dramas, many of them are strikingly similar when it comes to their styles, which is what many people were complaining about. This didn't affect my desire to see the movie and get my own opinion on it.

American Jacob and British Anna meet and fall madly in love at college in Los Angeles, but must make their relationship work long distance when Anna returns to London. With an ocean between them, their trust is tested, forcing them to confront the idea that their love may be impermanent. Can it survive again the odds? We've seen this story a million times. Whether it be in big romance flicks or independent films, this story has appeared time and time again. Like Crazy doesn't do very much to break the mold when it comes to the plot. It's a straight forward 'boy meets girl' story with many issues in their path of happiness together. They are in different countries and Anna isn't able to return to the United States because she spent the summer with him, overstaying her student visa. They're forced to try to make it work through a long distance relationship. Soon enough, they're both dealing with other love interests. However, it's quite clear that neither of them are interested in the other people. They continue to be drawn back together through text messages and phone calls. What could have made Like Crazy go from good to great is to actually extend the running time. I would have liked to see more scenes of Jacob and Anna getting to know each other in order to give us an even more genuine relationship. I would have also liked to see more detail put into when Anna and Jacob aren't together while they have other love interests. Jacob's temporary love interest, Sam, is a character I certainly would have liked to get to know better. This is a rather short film that seems to rush over some portions a bit. Fortunately, the dialogue is well-written and believable. Some of the situations are sure to irritate some audiences, but the characters are infectious. Sure, this story starts off as being a simple and predictable flick. However, it evolves to become just as complicated as love. The ending is sure to cause some controversy with some viewers. We aren't necessarily given a definite ending and we are left to piece it together ourselves with the information given. I personally didn't find this to be an issue, in fact, I thought it fit with the tone of the rest of the picture.

Along with a decent script is a fantastic group of performances. Anton Yelchin was born to play the role of Jacob. He fits the character to the point where I couldn't imagine another actor starring here. He's very believable from start to finish. Felicity Jones is phenomenal as Anna. She's extremely authentic and delivers on everything from the dialogue to making the audience truly care about her. Jennifer Lawrence has a small supporting role here. She plays Jacob's love interest while Anna and Jacob are separated. While she isn't in the movie for very long, she does a fantastic job here. There's one emotional sequence she has that certainly leaves a mark on the audience that makes the scene feel so realistic. These three actors are incredible in Like Crazy. Without such marvelous casting, this movie could have been a mess. Not only do they fit the characters, but each person truly gives his or her role an incredible amount of depth. The acting is the strongest element of Like Crazy. While watching this, audiences won't feel like they are watching actors. It feels all too genuine.

Even with the mixed reviews, I enjoyed Like Crazy. This isn't a perfect film and there definitely are some serious flaws. However, it's an intimate romantic drama that will remain to be memorable to me. The script is well-written, for the most part, although I would have liked to see the filmmakers take more time to explore the 'honeymoon' portion of Anna and Jacob's relationship as well as the time they're apart with other people. These are two elements that simply felt missing. The acting is powerful, to say the least. This is one thing that many other romantic dramas with this concept don't have. The great acting is what sells the genuine relationship between Jacob and Anna. Both Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are impressive and even Jennifer Lawrence does a sparkling job in a supporting role, even though I would have liked to see her get more screen time. Those who have been interested in checking this out should get his or her own opinion. Don't be swayed by good or bad reviews. See this with no expectations and you just might find yourself quite invested in this romantic drama. Like Crazy is imperfect as it certainly has its flaws, although it's still worth seeing.

My Rating = Three and One Half Stars

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