The words ‘indie’, ‘romance’ and ‘film’ are enough to inspire fear in the most open-minded of people but director, Drake Doremus (Douchebag), does a brilliant job of avoiding the pitfalls of the genre. While this film says nothing new about love and relationships (is there anything left to be explored?), it is its hard-hitting and emotive portrayal of young love that makes it a must-see.
The film tracks the love story of Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones), and the challenges, created by both themselves and the world around them, that they face. Anna is a British student who, while studying in L.A. for a year, meets and falls in love with Jacob, an American furniture student. She can’t bear to part with him and so violates her student visa to stay with him in L.A. This violation causes future problems in their relationship and they have to decide whether their feelings are strong enough to put up with the resulting pain and stress. The two young actors must be applauded for their part in this film because their nuanced and natural portrayals of the two lead characters are truly outstanding and bring a refreshing sense of authenticity to their characters. Nothing seems staged, forced or over-dramatic and at times you could be tricked into thinking that it is, in fact, a documentary.
This natural chemistry makes the truly heartbreaking moments in this film hit home all the harder and it shamelessly pulls on heartstrings. The brutally honest analysis of the conflict that arises between the love two people feel for each other and the expectations and neuroses that accompany formal relationships will have viewers remembering past relationships and will have many reaching for the box of tissues (like some of the professional reviewers Otwo saw at the screening).
Thankfully however, it is not all doom and gloom, as the sterling performances of Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead as Anna’s parents provide a little light relief. Their much-needed comedic counterpoint breaks up the intensity of this film with some excellently timed emotional rests.
Overall the strong performances, writing and directing of Like Crazy allow it to breathe new life into tired clichés and bring you on an emotional journey about the most basic of emotions: love.
In a Nutshell: An impressive and emotive film charting the pains and ferocity of young love.