Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Like Crazy ***½
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence
Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead, Chris Messina
Why is it that the most romantic films always have to tear through your soul, grab your heart from your chest and then smash it to pieces? Like Crazy does this and more, yet even with the eventual feeling of devastation that remains, one can't help but fall in love with it.
Call it masochism, call it hope, or call it plain insanity, but the movie proves just how humans seem drawn to misery and pain in the search for a larger truth, proof, perhaps, that we are not alone.
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones play Jacob and Anna, star-crossed lovers who must battle the evil forces of immigration to be together. Anna is a British student who overstays her US visa to be with Jacob over a languorous summer in Los Angeles. When she tries to return to the US, after attending a family thing in the UK, she is denied entrance and sent back to England, creating an obstacle for their blossoming relationship.
The rest of the film then divides itself between the two countries, as we see the young lovers trying to remain together even if they're apart.
Despite the Victorian sounding nature of the plot twist, the film is far from being an exercise in forced romance, instead it goes to the heart of love and wonders out loud, what makes one commit such inhuman acts in order to fulfill a romantic longing. Is love really that important in the face of emotional destruction and practical living?
Watching Jacob and Anna try to survive without one another is often more painful than inspiring, which makes the movie ring true in a universal manner. Yelchin once more brings his down-to-earth ease to Jacob, providing him with a stoicism that works as a perfect reflection of his heartbreak and Jones is just astonishing as Anna. She breathes violent life into the movie, making her character's actions ring true in a way that's both extremely cinematical and hurtfully realistic. She can be compared to Kate Winslet's delicious Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in how you can see how flawed they are, but still can't help but fall for them. The supporting cast is also great, including Lawrence as a girl in love with Jacob and Muirhead and Kingston as Anna's supportive parents.
It doesn't require much film knowledge to realize that Like Crazy draws deep from its writer's personal experience. In fact Doremus, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ben York Jones, has revealed that the film was inspired by one of his relationships; however do not look into his biography further if you want to have your own idea of what happens after the uncathartic finale in the movie.
With all of its pain and bitterness, Like Crazy somehow escapes pure tragedy by drawing from the power of humanity to remind us that our most important love affair is the one we have with ourselves.