‘Like Crazy’: Love isn’t always hearts and roses

In most ro­mantic dra­mas or com­ed­ies, the audi­ence can be fairly cer­tain the two leads will end up to­geth­er hap­pily ever after. That’s not the case in Like Crazy, which is one of the more un­tra­di­tion­al love stor­ies I’ve seen in a while.

To be clear, I’m not say­ing if the couple does or doesn’t end up to­geth­er; I’m just say­ing it’s not ob­vi­ous from the be­gin­ning how the movie will end. A re­fresh­ing lack of sac­char­ine ro­mance is also miss­ing from writer/dir­ect­or Drake Doremus’ low-key drama, in which a couple of col­lege-age kids meet, fall in love and move in to­geth­er.

So what’s the prob­lem, you ask? The young lady, Anna (Fe­li­city Jones), is at­tend­ing col­lege on a stu­dent visa from Lon­don while her gen­tle­man caller, Jac­ob (Ant­on Yelchin), is from the good ’ol U.S. of A.

I guess Anna and Jac­ob didn’t get the memo that be­ing young and in love of­ten causes some stu­pid­ity. Anna un­wisely over­stays her visa be­cause she doesn’t want to leave Jac­ob after gradu­ation. Even­tu­ally Anna goes back home for a wed­ding, but learns she’s banned from the U.S. when she at­tempts to re­turn.

The ob­vi­ous ques­tion and an­swer to me (and prob­ably to many oth­ers) was if they were so in love why not just get mar­ried? And since she can’t get in­to the U.S., why doesn’t he move to Lon­don? Well, the movie would have no reas­on to con­tin­ue if such a simple res­ol­u­tion were pur­sued, so we must watch Jac­ob and Anna break up and at­tempt to be friends while they both move on with new lov­ers.

Jac­ob moves on with Sam (Jen­nifer Lawrence), who works with him on his fur­niture-build­ing busi­ness, while Anna gets cozy with her neigh­bor Si­mon (Charlie Be­w­ley).

But, like any couple who think they are meant to be to­geth­er, Jac­ob and Anna are un­able to for­get each oth­er and go on a roller­coast­er ride of on-again, off-again love across the miles. The end­ing leaves things am­bigu­ous; the audi­ence gets to de­cide what hap­pens after the screen goes dark.

Some may find that ap­proach dis­ap­point­ing, but it worked with the rest of the film.

Over­all, I en­joyed the flick, but I think it would have been bet­ter if the act­ors had more chem­istry. I didn’t ne­ces­sar­ily root for them to be to­geth­er, which could have been be­cause the fall­ing-in-loves scenes happened pretty quickly. Or it just could have been be­cause Yelchin and Jones lacked suf­fi­cient heat. The most emo­tion­al mo­ment for me in­volved the re­la­tion­ship between Jac­ob and Sam. Jen­nifer Lawrence (Oscar-nom­in­ated in Winter’s Bone, and star­ring in the up­com­ing Hun­ger Games movie) prob­ably had no more than 10 or 20 lines in the en­tire film, but it took only one scene for her to steal the movie. It seems that it should have been up to Jac­ob and Anna to provide the tear­jerker mo­ments.

The sup­port­ing roles of Anna’s par­ents (Alex King­ston and Oliv­er Muir­head) provided the movie’s few laugh­able mo­ments, mainly over din­ner and drinks with Anna and Jac­ob.

Like Crazy at­tempts to tell the tale of for­bid­den love, though I nev­er truly found their obstacles in­sur­mount­able. Like Crazy is best suited to those who ap­pre­ci­ate an un­con­ven­tion­al ro­mantic story, and those who are tired of the typ­ic­al rom-com but are ro­mantics at heart. ••

Movie Grade: B

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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