"“It’s amiable and endearing, whilst being poignant and precise…”"
Sometimes it really is the simplest of ideas that work best. Like Crazy focuses on the on/off relationship between a couple, battling to stay together despite the Atlantic Ocean keeping them apart. In what is quite an undemanding storyline, produces a delightful and terribly rational take on modern relationships.
Drake Doremus, still at a relatively early point in his filmmaking career, has created a wonderful tale about adoration and distance and how difficult it can be to combine the two. Anna (Felicity Jones), a young English girl studying in California, falls in love with local boy Jacob (Anton Yelchin). After weeks of romance and untarnished love, Anna decides to overstay her Visa to prolong her summer with her new partner. However, she soon learns that this naïve mistake means that she is unable to go back to America within the foreseeable future. Anna and Jacob must therefore fight to keep their relationship intact despite being so far away from one another, although the temptation of meeting other people during such long absences soon proves to be too much for them both.
In a similar mould to Blue Valentine, Like Crazy takes an awfully pragmatic view upon relationships, focusing on the good and the bad in equal measure. However, despite its brave insight into the dynamics between young lovers, it didn’t capture the austerity of Blue Valentine.
I think that this is perhaps down to the leading roles not being so accomplished and more undeveloped, and the relationship between Anna and Jacob just wasn’t as sincere. It seemed that too much magnitude was put into the relationship, leaving the characters quite undefined.
I also felt that another difference between Like Crazy and Blue Valentine, was that when Anna and Jacob’s relationship became too subdued, it was often met with something positive happening to counteract it. However, in Blue Valentine, when things weren’t going very well between the two leads, they generally became progressively worse, perhaps a more realistic viewpoint, albeit unsympathetic.
Although perhaps it is unfair to compare this feature to others and simply analyse it as its own film, and when doing so, I have many positive words to offer. Jones and Yelchin took on mature roles, where a relationship isn’t all about sex and affection, but of logistics and common grounds. There were some scenes with few words, where we, just as the characters were also doing, spent time pondering upon their feelings for one another.
The film felt realistic and authentic, enhanced by the voyeuristic camerawork deployed throughout. The long shots, focusing from a distance on the pair eating in a café, or meeting at an airport, gave the feature a documentary feel to it.
Appearing at the London Film Festival, Like Crazy is a simple idea well executed. It’s amiable and endearing, whilst being poignant and precise. I also feel that I can’t conclude this critique without mentioning Doremus’ inclination towards filming feet, with various shots of the protagonist’s soles littered across the feature. Either the proximity and intimacy of the couple’s feet was a symbolism for their declining situation, or Doremus has a foot fetish, but I doubt it’s the latter.