Blue Valentine was, rightly, hugely acclaimed upon its release, seemingly heralding the way for a more downbeat approach to love and its various complications. Certainly Like Crazy, directed by newcomer DrakeDoremore, maintains a similar tone to the aforementioned film, frequently affecting in its honest, non-saccharine approach to young love.
Anna (Felicity Jones), an international student completing a year at a University in L.A., arranges to meet with fellow student Jacob (Anton Yelchin). Leaving a note for him on his car, she invites him out for coffee. Usually the invitation would have resulted in an overly chirpy scene in which the couple would bond over their various quirks; instead Doreman’s film remains natural throughout: Anna and Jacob awkwardly make conversation as they slowly learn about one another.
The pair fall in love, adopting the utter dependency familiar to many: Anna, feeling she cannot return to England once her visa expires, instead chooses to stay in the US. This violation of her visa, initially a way to keep the pair together, instead pulls them apart –unable to return to L.A. after a brief visit home, Anna and Jacob initially attempt to stay together, but find the distance difficult to cope with. Despite their assertions that they shall move on, the pair continually stray back together, unable to forget each other, desperate to recapture the first flushes of heady love they experienced together.
The film, largely improvised, excels in its naturalistic approach and its beautifully intimate direction. Crucially, in a film in which the couple spend much of the narrative apart, we believe in their love for one another, desiring to see the pair together. Both Jones and Yelchin are almost achingly earnest, Jones especially is a joy to watch. The beauty of the film lies in its subtle character development: as the pair reunite, it is clear to the viewer that they have both changed, but the pair, so devoted to the idea of what they could have been, seem oblivious.
Like Crazy is a truly heartbreaking, honest look at love, made all the more affecting by its excellent cast:Doremore’s film is far more relevant and relatable than any standard rom-com.