When you sit down to watch Like Crazy it becomes clear very fast that this is not a typical Hollywood blockbuster. It’s not the stereotypical, trope filled Hollywood love story where everything is resolved by the end of the movie and they go on to live happily ever after. Instead it is a stylistically and narratively unique movie about how distance affects a relationship, and how things change over time. If you don’t want to be spoiled I suggest you don’t read any more of this review, but if you’re interested I will try to address some of the things that make this movie great.
The way the movie is directed and shows us a handful of moments of when their relationship progresses made it was obvious from the start that Anna (Felicity Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) fall very much in love. However, as graduation arrives, Anna decides to overstay her student visa because she doesn’t want to part with Jacob, and is therefore banned from coming back to Los Angeles again. Jacob tries to visit when he can, but their lives slowly progress separately with Anna working as a journalist in London and Jacob as a furniture designer in LA. In an attempt to make it possible for Anna to go back to America they get married in London, but the ban is still not lifted and the situation causes a rift in their relationship, sending both of them into new relationships, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley. When it seems like everything is in the past, Anna gets a phone call that the ban has been lifted, and we see both Anna and Jacob leave their relationships to be together. The movie ends with a poignant scene in the shower where there is a clear struggle to regain what they once had now that they are back together, something that might be lost because of time and distance.
The acting, writing and directing in this movie makes the feelings between the two main characters thoroughly believable, and it’s heart-breaking to see them have to face so much difficulty as they try to be together. At times it made me angry at the immigration rules as there are only technicalities keeping them away from each other. The subtle and at times nonverbal acting that is seen both from Felicity and Anton, as well as Jennifer Lawrence and to a certain extent Charlie Bewley, shows us what is happening instead of telling us. The camera angles are artistic in a way that emphasises the emotions of the actors, which is especially apparent in the last scene when the focus is on Anna while the flashbacks show Jacob and vice versa.
Speaking of the ending, it was nice to see it end so ambiguously. I love open ended movies, and although at first I was very unsettled that it ended with them both so unsure about their reunion, it makes a lot of sense. It shows that getting what you want does not always feel the way you expect it to, and it makes sense that they both have some reservations considering everything they’ve gone through and how they just sacrificed healthy relationships to be together. I’m still not sure what the last scene meant for their future, but that is a part of what makes it so good.
To summarise, I really liked this original take on a love story, where the obstacles are realistic and true to life, and in many ways caused by the characters themselves. It was also a good combination of young talent, most notably the leads, as well as Jennifer Lawrence as Samantha. I also enjoyed Anna’s parents, especially Alex Kingston as her mother. I hope to see more movies like this in the future. It’s stories like this that makes it worth sitting through dozens of romantic comedies that are pretty much all the same.