‘Like Crazy’ Exposes Sweet Sorrow of Young Love

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CHICAGO – The young love affair, that first one that breaks through the heart, mind and biological objectives, is the memory that never really goes away. Sometimes it works out for a lifetime, sometimes it ends. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones play out this oft-remembered experience in “Like Crazy.”

Fighting all the outside factors against their long distance relationship, the couple goes through the whole emotional spectrum in this story, an in-the-now tale encompassing immigrations laws (on a different level) and the distractions of simply being young and apart in the current era. Yelchin and Jones have a terrific understanding of the motivations necessary in making something like this work, and their performances are raw, honest and heart-breaking.

Right near the end of their college days, Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) begin a relationship that almost immediately morphs into love. The problem is the time running out at the end of the semester, compounded by the fact that Jacob lives in California and Anna lives in London. Days before her student visa is to run out, Anna makes the decision to stay through the summer, in effect breaking passport rules in a post-9/11 world.

Anton Yelchin as Jacob and Felicity Jones as Anna in ‘Like Crazy’
Anton Yelchin as Jacob and Felicity Jones as Anna in ‘Like Crazy’
Photo credit: © 2011 Paramount Pictures

Anna goes back to London, and finds out about her mistake when she tries to come back and visit Jacob. Her passport is denied, and she is unceremoniously forced to go back to her homeland. This begins a back-and-forth wrangling of long distance emotions, draconian laws and challenges from other relationships. For Jacob, it is a co-worker named Sam (Jennifer Lawrence), and for Anna it is a love-struck Simon (Charlie Bewley). Jacob and Anna make some extreme decisions, but everything that works against them threatens their love.

The story is absorbing, and at the same time a reminder at any age the risks that are involved in going into any love relationship. The factors against the lovers are also familiar in our modern age – airport security checks, vague laws and the bitter sting of cold texts on a smart phone. The decisions that these inexperienced adults make, in the name of their love, is appropriately cringe worthy. With so much life to come, in a time where commitment can be optional, the fight to stay together is ridiculously futile.

But there lies the power of the film, both in the positive and negative elements of the relationship. The decisions these lovers make become the basis for what they need to learn, and in coming together so sincerely there are bound to be the usual mistakes and high drama. But those are the life lessons that are part of the human journey, inherent in the fellow travelers that come along for the ride. The dramatic arc of the narrative, co-written and directed by Drake Doremus, revels in these lessons.

The two lead actors, portraying the lovers, carry all of the emotional baggage effectively. In a newly minted adult relationship, there is a maturing process that begins that make the participants seem older and wiser. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones play this subtlety, plus the backlash that occurs that when they return back to their separate lives and early 20-year-old attitudes. They were both unerring in promoting the complex feelings and consequences of their coupling.

Oliver Muirhead and Alex Kingston Portray Anna’s Parents in ‘Like Crazy’
Oliver Muirhead and Alex Kingston Portray Anna’s Parents in ‘Like Crazy’
Photo credit: © 2011 Paramount Pictures

Some of their decisions stretched reality just a bit, but every relationship is like a fingerprint. The sacrifices that some people make for the sake of coming together would make others shake their heads in disbelief. “Like Crazy” is one atypical example of that unbelievable relating circumstance, and like watching a lousy play in a football game, the temptation to shout at the screen and throw a shoe is ever present.

It’s refreshing to see the story of honest romance in all its glory and frustration, the very definition of young love. The ending is also gratefully not so clear cut, so in the reflection of Jacob and Anna, we can’t help but see ourselves.

“Like Crazy” continues its limited release in Chicago on November 3rd. See local listings for theaters and showtimes. Featuring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead. Screenplay by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones. Directed by Drake Doremus. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Senior Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2011 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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"Like Crazy"

My kind of movie this show me that nothing can keep love apart.

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