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Like Crazy

2011 | 89 min | PG-13 | 1.78:1

Like Crazy


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Theatrical release date

 28 October, 2011
 03 February, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

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Like Crazy


Screenshots from Like Crazy Blu-ray

Like Crazy Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, November 25, 2011

Love is serious business. "Like Crazy" investigates the churning pit of romance with a soggy approach, finding director Drake Doremus putting his two leads through emotional hell as they express the ravages of attraction and the trials of commitment. It's a movie for those in an interpretive mood, monitoring euphoric highs and tear-stained lows, yet the effort never uncovers the authenticity it's desperate to achieve. "Like Crazy" is a plastic game of love, craving displays of affected behavior over an honest deconstruction of devotion. The film is never genuine, feeling like an improvisation class project that lucked into a theatrical release.

In America on a student visa from England, Anna (Felicity Jones) finds herself attracted to classmate Jacob (Anton Yelchin). When the two begin to date, it kicks off a whirlwind expedition into new love and intimate confessions, with the pair finding they have everything in common, strengthening their bond over a passionate summer. When Anna returns home, the duo attempts to maintain contact, only to find the demands of a long distance relationship difficult to navigate, with new lovers, including Sam (Jennifer Lawrence), entering the picture. When Anna discovers she cannot return to America due to a visa violation, the couple is forced to reassess their union, leading to a series of rash decisions and crippling realizations that test the boundaries of their faithfulness.

"Like Crazy" is dangerously similar to last year's bummer "Blue Valentine," which also investigated the moldy heart of love, tracking the highs and lows of a longstanding relationship as it's challenged from all sides. While more precious in execution, "Like Crazy" assumes a similar blueprint of improvisation, allowing Yelchin and Jones free rein to communicate the inner lives of their characters, opening the acting up to tics and flailing, keeping the audience aware of emotional moods through pronounced body language and stammered lines of dialogue. It's an iffy direction to choose, with so many movies attempting the same pitch of personal turbulence, slicing through the thick of convention to spotlight the gelatin sway of adoration. "Like Crazy" doesn't add anything fresh to the mopey subgenre, employing an expected soundtrack of obscure indie rock and some rhythmical editorial muscle to help articulate a few bruised moments. Doremus doesn't have a great sense of originality, but he does offer two passable performances to convey the melodrama.

"Like Crazy" carries a mood of distracted journaling, watching the characters carry on with intimate business, spending as much time together as they do apart. The director leaves entire scenes in the hands of Yelchin and Jones, who do a commendable job carrying the weight of decision, playing a pair of characters lost in the hurricane of attraction, trusting their love will conquer any problems. Of course, their love hasn't met U.S. Immigration Service before, leaving the pair without hope, doing what they can to sustain their timeless bond. Mercifully, "Like Crazy" isn't a manic picture, but it doesn't shy away from exaggerated behaviors, looking to solidify escalating intimacy with a few calculated, chest-heaving expressions of thought. The addition of supplementary lovers thickens the conflict unnecessarily, making the pair dangerously unappealing as they fight for their relationships while happily sleeping with other people. I suppose love is forever, unless of course a half-naked Jennifer Lawrence is standing right in front of you. The plot burps up a few storytelling detours that strain credibility, but there's acceptable chemistry shared between the leads, along with a few scenes of authentic ache that helps to swallow the synthetic atmosphere of the production.

"Like Crazy" isn't endearing and only intermittently believable. Those more inclined to demonstrative displays of doomed love might be able to squeeze out a few drops of significance, perhaps relating to the intensity of emotion in some ephemeral way. Cynics and those allergic to improvisational articulations of petty trauma should seek their emotional catharsis elsewhere.

Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence (III)
Director: Drake Doremus

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