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Like Crazy (2011)
Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 3/6/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/5/2012
Hollywood loves a good love story...and even a bad one too. Every year, we're treated to one love story after another and even after all of these years, they still do well. (Just look at the haul The Vow brought in at the box office recently.) Hollywood also loves a good falling out of love story, from the depressing, like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, to the absurd, like The War of the Roses. But, what about movies which fall in-between these two genres? Ah, that is a far rarer specimen, and it's not often that we get a movie like Like Crazy.
Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) meet one another in a college class. Anna is attracted to Jacob and she leaves a letter on his car. He calls her and they go on a date. They soon become inseparable, as they discuss their futures -- Anna wants to be a journalist, while Jacob designs furniture. There's only one catch -- Anna is British and she's in America on a student visa, which is about to expire. Instead of returning home for the summer as she should, she decides to stay with Jacob. She eventually goes to England for a friend's wedding and when she attempts to return to Los Angeles, she's denied due to the visa violation. Anna goes back to Britain and she and Jacob attempt to find a way to keep their relationship going. The long-distance thing is a challenge and attempts to have Anna's violation forgiven are met with road-blocks. Soon, they begin to grow apart. Is there anything which can save their romance?
Like Crazy is a quiet, slice-of-life movie which oft-times takes a nearly voyeuristic view of Jacob and Anna's relationship. It's also a very emotional drama which shows how thrilling and how painful love can be. The essential message of the movie is that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Their whirlwind romance gives way to great sadness when they are eventually separated. The viewer is somewhat taken aback when the two come to grips with the fact that they can't be together and begin seeing other people -- Jacob begins dating Samantha (Jennifer Lawrence), who is also his receptionist. But, Anna and Jacob never stay apart for too long. And yet, as times goes on, when they are able to see each other, the relationship never quite feels the same.
Co-writer/Director Draek Doremus has made a career of making low-budget "slacker" comedies, but he's taken a much more serious approach here. Again, Like Crazy is a very emotional movie and it doesn't miss an opportunity to drive home how tragic the romance is here. This shouldn't be confused with a sappy film -- Like Crazy is very realistic and raw in its portrayal of Anna and Jacob's relationship. Doremus doesn't shy away from symbolism and depending on your tastes, your either going to find some key moments in the film either very poignant or incredibly heavy-handed. There are two scenes in the second half of the film where something happens to objects which represent the love between Jacob and Anna. When these events occurred, part of me said, "Ah, that was clever.", while another part said, "Wow, that was cheesy and obvious." I also had issues with the fact that Like Crazy is one of those movies where time is passing, but we're never told exactly how long. (The story seems to take place over a number of years, but it's difficult to tell...unless you want to go out of your way and trace the cell phone technology shown in the movie.)
These issues aside, Like Crazy is still a quietly powerful film. If I were to compare it to other movies, I would say that it plays like a combination of One Day andBlue Valentine, as it shows a couple who keep coming together and drifting apart, and the results aren't always great. Doremus shooting and editing style got on my nerves at times (the constant cuts makes this look like Michael Bay's idea of a low-budget drama), but the acting is very good, as Yelchin and Jones make you believe in and feel for these characters. The 89-minute running time is perfect for this sort of thing and the movie, although slow at times, never feels like it's dragging. Like Crazy shows that it's difficult to maintain the momentum in a relationship and be warned, the movie is draining.
Like Crazy made me wonder if chair makers really do get that much action on DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is fairly sharp and clear, as it shows only trace amounts of grain and no defects from the source material. However, Doremus has shot much of the film in a quasi-verite style, so the image is intentionally blurry at times, and the transfer looks soft in these moments, creating a lack of detail. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. I didn't note any intrusive artifacting. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There are some nicely done stereo effects at times, which illustrate sounds coming from off-screen. A concert (?!) scene provides music which fills the speakers and brings the subwoofer to life. Otherwise, this is a fairly quiet film, but we can always hear what is being said.
The lone extra on the Like Crazy DVD is an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Drake Doremus, Editor Jonathan Alberts, and Cinematographer John Guleserian.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long