Every year there seems to be a batch of under-the-radar studio films that are almost passed off as indie films. They’re usually romantic dramas or romantic comedies that take a different approach to such a basic story. Like Crazy is 2011’s version of that story, with the basic premise of guy and girl falling in love and dealing with the pain, sorrow and happiness that comes with relationships. It differs from previous genre entries by utilizing the latest trend of keeping the camera zoomed in and focused on the actors, while practically following them over the shoulder. The film is strongest when it reveals the honesty and acceptance of relationships past their primes, but it can’t help itself from feeling a little too depressing.
Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) meet each other at college. They almost instantly fall for each other. At first their relationship seems just like any other cute college fling, with several gift exchanges and fun moments of simply doing everything together, but then things get thick when Anna overstays her visa. She’s a British student that is in the US for school and after falling for Jacob she decides to extend her summer just a little bit longer.
It is later revealed that she cannot regain access into the US without clearing her pending visa charges. Meanwhile Jacob can’t seem to focus on anything because the thought of being so far away from Anna is unbearable. Both go on living their lives apart, only to meet up several times throughout the films running time. They learn just how strong of a bond they’ve formed and just how powerful true love really is.
Love isn’t always roses and sunshine though. There’s a lot of pain and hardship to be endured and most couples can’t get past such lengthy boundaries, especially at such a young age. They try their best and put forth an effort, but things soon unfold, only to come back together yet again.
Like Crazy is your basic on-again/off-again relationship film that follows one couple through the thick and thin. What makes it work is the honesty between the two leads, Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. Their ability to play such vulnerable roles rewards the viewer with a close look at what real relationships are like. You get to see tons of moments when they’re together, sharing happy moments, but you also get a hefty amount of realism.
For every peaceful scene that is sure to make the girls continue to paint their ideal picture of Mr. Perfect; you’re given difficult scenes that show the couples struggles with staying faithful to each other and living without each other for extended periods of time. It’s no picnic and Like Crazy has no problem showing you that.
But the film still feels like a good rental at best. After the first breakup you’ll know exactly where the film is heading and it gets to be a pointless repeat of things we’ve already seen. It’s no doubt meant to keep reminding you of how relationships tend to work, but it reaches a certain point where you just want it to end. That’s not to discredit the acting though, because Yelchin and Jones do their best to keep each new scene feeling fresh, despite the close similarities to a scene that occurred 20 minutes prior.
The 1080p video transfer isn’t without its flaws either. Several shots go in and out of focus, making faces appear smudgy and lacking of any facial texture. Outside scenery is bright and glowing, but whenever the camera starts to shift focus, the image briefly loses all of its characteristics, rendering the picture dull and in desperate need of some color. I can’t help but think that the presentation is all intentional though, because when things look strong they really shine.
Dialogue heavy films rarely benefit from a full audio mix, but Like Crazy manages to keep the activity sporadic and slightly energetic. Most of the sound comes out of the front channels, but the occasional car comes buzzing through the back channels to remind you that you’re listening to a 5.1 audio track.
The disc comes with a bare spread of features. There’s an audio commentary that’s worth a listen if you dig the film, but aside from that there’s a few deleted/alternate scenes that feel almost exactly like the original shots, with some dialogue moved around. Here’s a full list of features below.
- Commentary by Director Drake Doremus, Editor Jonathan Alberts and Cinematographer John Guleserian
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Alternate Scenes (HD)
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
My review for the film may not sound that positive, but it’s only because I’ve seen the film twice now and it doesn’t get any better with repeat viewings. The first viewing left me with the problems that I shared above and the second viewing left me staring at the clock, waiting for it to end. There’s a specific feeling or mode to be captured when viewing this film and for those that connect to the film I feel that Like Crazy will quickly become one of those under-the-radar romantic dramas that came out of nowhere and impressed, but that’s the only time I could see someone generally falling in love with the film.
For everyone else it’ll go down as just another well-made film that mostly worked because of its actors and not because of its script. The story is something that we’ve seen before, but director Drake Doremus injects a dose of indie realism to it and it makes the film a little more enjoyable, but still not worthy of a full-price purchase.
Like Crazy is a well-made romantic drama, but it becomes a film full of repeated scenes with slightly different results. It's good rental material, but that's it.