Like Crazy as reviewed in The Phantom Tollbooth

Relationships are messy. Anyone who has been in or through one understands that.

Most movies that deal with young love or difficult relationships often gloss over the pain and struggles or they tidy it all up with a few antidotes and a quirky third party. But by doing so they lose the honesty, emotion, and beauty that these hard times bring about. Romantic Comedies are popular because they are an escape; and I love them as much as the next person. But every now and then a film comes along with depth and insight; creating stirring, brief glimpse into the lives of young lovers. Like Crazy is one of those films.

Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) are in love. They met during their final year in college, it is now the summer, and they can't bear to be apart for one brief moment. Anna, who is from London, is in the states on a student Visa. Love dictates action though and she overstays her visa to be with Jacob. It is only when she returns to London for a family event does she discover the consequences of her action. She is no longer allowed back in the states and these young lovers now have an ocean between them.

Director Drake Doremus does a remarkable job with this film. I get the feeling he didn't micro manage his actors but allowed them the room to live and breathe their characters. Yelchin and Jones are able to emote the awkwardness of first meetings, then the flowering of new love, all the way to the brutal human frustration that comes from separation, anxiety, and remorse. At times you feel like you are intruding into a real world where two people are trying to make the best of a bad situation. I wanted to look away and allow then the privacy to work through their pain. That is the honest, genuine spirit this film portrays.

Honesty is a key word for this one. It doesn't candy coat any of the elements of relationship trials. There are no pretty bows or stereotypes that come with most films in this genre. At the same time it still feels light and airy. Not sure how Doremus manages this. Most films of this intensity have you feeling tired and a bit strained afterwards. This one kept the drama fresh without being cumbersome. It offers hope without being superficial. Also it doesn't manipulate you with the emotions. It has the perfect balance of strong characters, true passion, and relatable conditions.

Like Crazy is rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language. There isn't an ounce of gratuity in this film and the sexual content is neither graphic nor provocative. The language is honest and used only as needed for the moment. I give the film 4.5 out of 5 passports. I encourage you to put aside the normal expectations of the romantic genre and allow this film to be what it is. A lovely, well directed, and superbly acted piece that is artistic and moving.


Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.