Anna (Felicity Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) meet their senior year of college in Los Angeles and fall quickly in love. She’s British, he’s American, and when her student visa is up, she decides to overstay instead of spending the summer apart. A quick trip home to London ends up being rather permanent when she tries to re-enter the United States and is denied. The two lovers are forced to figure out how to be together when they’re 5,000 miles away from each other.
Like Crazy is another stripped-down examination of young love gone awry. The 90-minute movie tracks the crazy cycle of infatuation, love, heartbreak, and what comes after. Directed by Drake Doremus (his fourth movie, and he’s not yet 30) and shot on digital hand-held, Like Crazy offers a raw look at young love in an era of constant communication.
When the film does things well, it does them very well. Both leads give raw, emotionally resonant performances. There are times where Anna and Jacob are so naive that it hurts to watch them. Neither one is really mature enough to deal with the fallout of their actions, and neither one can deal with the crushing weight of first love. It’s real and authentic and super uncomfortable.
The film’s spareness works for it. The jerky camera and the lingering close-ups with very little music make the film feel very intimate. Long shots help indicate the frustration and awkwardness of being apart. All of this works to suck the viewer into the world of these two people.
Perhaps the film’s only weakness is the amount of time that Anna and Jacob spend apart. The last tw0-thirds of the film focus on the separation, and it is here that the film becomes so melancholy that is almost unbearable. Even so, I’ve never seen a film that so perfectly encapsulates this generation’s inability to be together and yet not be apart, either.
Like Crazy is playing in limited release right now.