I’ve been wanting to see Drake Doremus’ debut feature Like Crazy ever since I saw the trailer months and months ago. It looked like the kind of breakout Sundance indie romance drama that I always think I’m going to like until the obvious indie-by-numbers fare usually disappoints (See (500) Days of Summer). Anyway in this case my instincts were correct.
The story is fairly standard, British girl Anna (Felicity Jones from the sweet but little seen Chalet Girl) falls for American boy Jacob (Anton Yelchin, Chekov from Star Trek) whilst studying in LA and inevitable naivety, VISA’s and distance cause various tensions and “obstacles” over the years.
Its budget and camera (a Canon 7D I believe) were both rather tiny, creating an uncomfortably intimate and voyeuristic feel, heightened even more by the fact that the dialogue is mostly improvised by the cast.
The films greatest strength is that the two leads are so believable and likeable that even when they do the most irritating, infuriating things, there is a sincerity and chemistry between them that makes it impossible not to empathise with. Anyone who has lived, or indeed, is living through the tumultuous and maddeningly confusing world of relationships in your 20s, even when the added nightmare of long-distance is absent, would recognise the building paranoia, arguments about where to eat and frustrating silence when there’s still so much to say. It would be easy to dismiss Anna and Jacob as young, stupid idiots, but they make the same mistakes as so many other young lovers with such unsustainable addictions to each other have made before and will make again. The final scene is brilliant and painful as they make their silent realisations that everything has changed and they can’t ever go back.
I watched Like Crazy with my sister. We cringed and squirmed throughout as we relived those moments with stomach churning clarity, laughing out loud when we realised with a hint of embarrassment the similarities between Anna’s father and our own. So yes it was an uncomfortable watch, close to the bone and achingly real, with moments of tenderness and humour all so simply affecting and subtly played, with an honesty that is sadly rare in this world of romantic falsehoods and cynical clichés.