FILM REVIEW: Like Crazy (12A)

crLove in its many wondrous forms is an essential component of the human experience.

As children, we love fearlessly and wholeheartedly, naive to the pain and disappointment that comes with age.

Every crush on a classmate, every nervous declaration is thrilling; every rejection crushes our self-confidence as if it were the end of the world.

First love scars us for the rest of our lives but time and again, we dust ourselves off.

Falling in love is just as frighteningly easy as falling out again in Drake Doremus’s low-budget romance.

Following a 50-page outline, lead stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones explored every emotional nook and cranny of their transatlantic lovers, improvising the painful truths that sometimes lurk in silences.

This collaborative process between film-maker and cast reaps considerable rewards.

Like Crazy is a beautifully naturalistic portrait of an affair that will strike a chord with anyone who has taken that leap of faith and risked their heart.

Doremus’s camera snuggles in bed with the characters and provides us with a piercing insight to their feelings as expectation turns to joy, or nervous anticipation becomes crushing despair.

British exchange student Anna (Felicity Jones) falls head over heels in love with talented design student Jacob (Anton Yelchin) during her time in Los Angeles.

She exceeds the length of her student visa to fan the flames of romance but after Anna returns home to her parents (Oliver Muirhead, Alex Kingston), US immigration subsequently refuses her re-entry, forcing the young couple to conduct their relationship from different continents.

Jacob flies to the UK as often as he can but the romance feels the strain of separation so Anna’s parents hire a lawyer to argue her case.

“If you two got married, you’d save me a lot of money,” jokes Anna’s father.

The seed of an idea is planted and the lovers eventually agree, “We should get married”, tying the knot at a town hall.

However, the distance between the couple takes its toll and Jacob finds comfort in the arms of Sam (Jennifer Lawrence), while Anna starts a relationship with Simon (Charlie Bewley).

Perhaps their love was not meant to be after all.

Like Crazy is anchored by mesmerising performances from Jones and Yelchin, who lay themselves bare as their characters are dragged through the emotional mire.

On-screen chemistry sizzles - we believe completely in their attraction - and there are some lovely verbal exchanges and scenes of intimacy.

A couple of moments in Doremus’s film feel contrived, including the symbolic breaking of a piece of jewellery.

However, realism ultimately wins out, including a wedding proposal that leaves us feeling almost as awkward as the ungrateful recipient.

By Damon Smith


Released: January 27 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas), 90 mins