Like Crazy is a serious indie romance about a British college student in L.A. (Anna, played by Felicity Jones) who falls in love with an American student (Jacob, played by Anton Yelchin). Anna decides to overstay her visa so that she can spend the summer with Jacob, with consequences that will haunt them for a very long time.
Like Crazy works as well as it does primarily because of the acting of, and chemistry between, Jones and Yelchin (with some excellent supporting work from Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead). You may recall that I was recently singing the praises of Yelchin and Lawrence when they teamed up in The Beaver. It seems rather coincidental that they would team up again here. I predict great things for all three of the young actors.
Like Crazy’s forte is not its dialogue (which isn’t profound but did feel very real), but the way emotions are conveyed by these actors without dialogue. I always felt like I knew exactly what these characters were thinking and that drew me in and helped me to care about them. This is important because the structure of the film actually works against caring too deeply for the characters. In fact, the characters consistently disappoint (e.g. If Jacob loves Anna as much as he says he does, then why doesn’t he move to London?). At the same time, I have watched a number of actual young romances in the 21st century which have taken similar paths after that initial burst of ecstatic passion (i.e. I think Like Crazy reflects a fear of commitment which is fairly common among today’s young adults - less so when I was a young adult).
Taken on its own, Like Crazy is an original and entertaining film, with more than its fair share of precious scenes, both joyous and depressing. But I could not help but compare it to one of my favourite serious young adult romances: Before Sunrise. The dialogue in the latter film made me hang on every word, and watching the film, which also reflects the values of many of today’s young adults, was a profoundly satisfying experience. Like Crazy was not. Still, I will give it a solid *** that verges on ***+. My mug is up.