Mike and I finally saw Like Crazy this weekend. I've been anticipating the release of this one for a few months now and drooling over the trailer again and again (I actually posted about the trailer here). I won't say that I was disappointed (doing so would satisfy Mike too much), but it wasn't quite as satisfying as I had hoped. I think it was the kind of movie I had idealized to the point that my expectations were too high to reach.
It was still a lovely movie and definitely had plenty of highlights and post-viewing discussion points. The film follows Anna and Jacob, two college students in LA who fall in love. Anna is from the UK and has dreams of becoming a writer while Jacob, a US-native, is a wannabe-furniture designer. The movie tracks their relationship from its very first date through all the struggles the couple deals with regarding immigration and deportation issues after graduation. Anna wants to stay in LA and violate her visa in order to be with Jacob, but this ultimately poses major obstacles in their effort to live in the same country.
Reviews have been pretty good all around but I was worried that this would be a real bummer of a movie. It wasn't nearly as depressing as I thought as there were a fair amount of both highs and lows scattered throughout. Anna and Jacob's problem isn't as simple as it appears, just as nothing ever seems to be once emotions become involved. And their story isn't completely hard to relate to - anyone who has been kept apart from someone they love can understand the experience of these two.
The acting is a true strength of this film. Felicity Jones, who portrays Anna, and Anton Yelchin, who plays Jacob, improvised all of their lines, but the movie never once feels ad libbed. Director Drake Doremus (who also directed Spooner, a movie of which I was a big fan) does a great job of capturing this story. Oftentimes, in films which lack written direction, scenes can seem to last for hours with little or no point, but the flow of Like Crazy was surprisingly satisfactory. Though extremely realistic, sometimes uncomfortably so, the movie grows dull and boring. In addition to the improvised nature of the movie, that true to life feeling can probably be attributed to the fact that Like Crazy is based on Doremus' own experience in college, falling in love with an international student.
Despite my few misgivings with this film, which would have probably been lessened if I went in to the theater with lesser expectations, I think Like Crazy is definitely worth watching. Though I don't see myself returning to watch this movie again and again, I was completely enraptured for the film's entire duration and found much to appreciate in terms of acting ability, direction, visual style, etc. The recognition it has received at Sundance is well-earned and I hope Like Crazy continues to do well. I just wish I could have been a little more satisfied with the storyline itself, a discontent that is probably much more attributable to me than the movie itself.
at 9:46 AM