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Centers on a long-distance relationship between a young American man and a young British woman who meet while in college.
For more about Like Crazy and the Like Crazy Blu-ray release, see Like Crazy Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 24, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
Director: Drake Doremus
» See full cast & crew
Like Crazy Blu-ray Review
A love and hate relationship.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 24, 2012
It's hard to keep stopping and starting.
Love knows no borders, but borders certainly can get in the way of love. Like Crazy tells the story of two people who fall madly in love only to have their bond challenged by borders, their passion halted by the passage of time. It's a story that asks whether true love exists and if it can last, what it can withstand, what it is that might cause it to fall apart. The picture yields an authentic flair, one well beyond and far removed from the fairy tale romances of the movies, the story capturing the ebbs and flows of a real relationship between two people and influenced by very real problems. The movie demonstrates that life isn't perfect, that love isn't all smiles and pixie dust, the movie something of a cross between Love Story and Blue Valentine, director Drake Doremus's film incorporating its own sort of whirlwind romance, tragedy, and efforts to rekindle an old flame, all within the confines of an evident independent, low-budget streak that gives the movie a more authentic, real-life, relatable feel than does a movie with everything in perfect, exacting, rehearsed order.
Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) are college classmates who seem to have formed a bond and an attraction through eye contact alone. Anna takes the first step in furthering the relationship, leaving a heartfelt note on Jacob's car. He's touched, calls her, and the two quickly become inseparable, not just an ordinary couple or everyday lovers but soul mates. He's introduced to her whiskey-loving parents, and all seems to be going well until it's time for Anna to return home to her native England. But the thought of distance and time separating them is too much to bear; she remains stateside in violation of her visa. She ultimately returns home for a brief stay but on her return trip to the states, she's detained and forced to return to England without even seeing Jacob. When it's clear that Anna won't be returning to the United States anytime soon, the difficulties of maintaining their relationship over a long distance is stretched and challenged when both are forced to go about their lives without the other, including letting other people in to fill the void left by other.
Like Crazy plays with an honest simplicity even as its characters traverse a difficult array of emotions. Yet the picture proves just as frustrating as it does simple, in large part because its authenticity clashes with the general notion of entertainment as escapism. Fairy tales and storybook romances work for a reason, those pictures showing that which so many people want but never find anywhere but on the cinema screen. Like Crazy, on the other hand, shows life as it often is, not life as one might like it to be. The on-screen romance is complex and disturbed by any number of factors. The picture plays with the ideas of love and passion and one yielding the other and one destroying the other. The picture progresses through a roller coaster of raw emotions, the joys of finding that one true love, the heartbreak of separation, the pain of a romance on the rocks. But the condensed runtime and the by comparison rather sprawling timeframe don't allow for much more than jumps to the next level of the relationship; their love is strong, weakened, others enter the picture, they yearn for one another, politics keep them apart, brief time together yields more time apart. The narrative flows well, but the progression of the relationship seems a little jumpy. The picture would have benefited from a little more breathing room and something of a slightly more upbeat air, but then again the picture strives to play it straight, even right down to the ambiguous finale that's sure to leave audiences with more questions than answers, but isn't that life?
While Like Crazy might frustrate audiences in search of something a little more magical and removed from the daily realities of life, all will appreciate its raw, real performances. The picture was crafted largely with improvised actions and dialogue. There's a remarkable chemistry between leads Yelchin and Jones, the two falling in love with believable rapidity and tenderness and drifting apart and back together with equal authenticity that helps the audience more deeply understand their lives and passions and core relationship, even as the movie by necessity moves from one event to the next with haste. The on-the-fly, real-time, largely unscripted dialogue gives the characters a real world feel to which many will undoubtedly relate. It's a smart choice for a movie that strives for fact over fiction while still in the guise of fiction (the picture is supposedly based around the real-life experiences of Director Drake Doremus' own long-distance relationship). The film was shot with off-the-shelf equipment; the final product is as visually raw as the story, but the technical shortcomings are largely masked by the realism inherent to the production, and the absence of bigger-budget perfection only seems to pull the movie closer to the audience rather than make it something more detached, unobtainable, unrealistic, which are all qualities largely inherent to the storybook romances that are the opposite of Like Crazy.
Like Crazy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Like Crazy's 1080p Blu-ray transfer reflects the low-grade original source. This wasn't shot with Red or other high end digital cameras, but rather an off-the-shelf Canon camera. The results, unsurprisingly, won't dazzle audiences, but it would be unfair to knock the transfer too much for simply reproducing its original content, natural limitations and all. The HD video imagery produces glossy, flat elements. Aliasing, jagged edges, false colors, blocking, and banding are all evident throughout. Shadowy faces in particular suffer through some terrible color gradations. Colors often appear washed out -- ditto blacks -- but the image stabilizes in the brightest scenes. Fine detail is rather bland, with heavier textures, like that of a quilt, appearing rather intricate and stable, but most of the movie looks mostly flat and undefined. This isn't a demo disc to be sure, but this is the best the movie will ever look.
Like Crazy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Like Crazy features a steady DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The picture is largely comprised of dialogue which plays evenly and naturally through the center channel. There are a few active and enveloping moments. Good energy, deep bass, and a fine sense of immersion define the soundtrack during a scene at a dance club midway through the movie. Background ambience at an outdoor market or at the airport -- which includes a booming, impressive PA address announcement -- do well to envelop the listener in those locales. Chirping birds, light winds, and chatty students in the early college scenes represent some of the more subtle but mood-critical elements, all of which the track handles nicely. There are a few moments where things can get a little mushy, but generally this track features good spacing, fine clarity, and a positive sense of immersion.
Like Crazy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Like Crazy contains a commentary, deleted scenes, and alternate scenes.
Like Crazy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Like Crazy is one of those real-life emotional powerhouses, not fairy tale escapism. The picture deals in feelings and situations which change almost by the scene, which may leave audiences frustrated but at the same time more understanding of the nuances and overtones alike that define the relationship. The acting is strong and the story dominates this low-budget film, but a condensed runtime, a wide array of heavy emotions, and an ambiguous finale all contribute to the picture's strengths but may also be seen as weaknesses. This is quality film, but one that requires the right audience expectations to fully appreciate. Paramount's Blu-ray release of Like Crazy features video that's reflective of the original elements, a quality lossless soundtrack, and a few good extras. Definitely worth a rental, and fans may buy with confidence.
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Like Crazy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Like Crazy Blu-ray - January 10, 2012
Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Like Crazy to Blu-ray this March. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and Felicity Jones (The Tempest) star in this romantic drama as two star-crossed lovers separated by both the Atlantic Ocean and the responsibilities of ...
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