Anna (Felicity Jones) – an English college student – and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) meet in college in the US and quickly fall in love. When Anna over stays her visa and is deported, the couple must decide what their future holds and how they can be together.
When Anna and Jacob first meet, their relationship is just like every other couple you envy in a movie. They are carefree and happy, they delight in one another’s company; even in the simple moments, they are young, pretty and in love. As the movie wears on, however, the couple are separated and things become difficult. The two are still infatuated with one another – almost addicted – but life gets in the way… Oh, and about 5,500 miles.
The chemistry between Yelchin and Jones is natural and both actors give great performances. The movie takes snapshots of the characters’ lives as they orbit each other over the course of several years, and there is no doubt that both actors caught the various moods needed to play the roles. The connection between the two is reinforced through glances, gestures and the gentlest of touches, and as this begins to go sour, it is conveyed in a very real and engaging manner.
The supporting cast are equally as strong. Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley play two characters who are unwittingly brought into the tangle between Anna and Jacob, and they are vital to show how these two people cannot connect with anyone but each other. Lawrence in particular may win some audience sympathy, as many of us may have been the one that comes second. It is these performances – as well as Alex Kingston’s charming and funny performance as Anna’s mum – that are the lynchpin of the movie, as this romance is let down by the script.
Eventually Jacob and Anna begin to grate, and this is where the movie falters. They are trying everything to be together, even when it makes them miserable. The question the audience ends up asking is; why do these people want to be in one another’s lives? They complain that they feel like they are not really a part of the other’s life, that they are just holidaying with them, but as soon as one tries to pull away, the other drags them back. This appears to be the epitome of addiction, and this – as well as the fact that Anna made a silly decision that caused all of this – means that the audience quickly loses patience with the characters. As time goes on, audience sympathy shifts from two selfish people who are destroying everyone around them, to those that are being destroyed.
Like Crazy is shot like a series of photographs and this suits the film incredibly well. These people dip in and out of one another’s lives, and only have photographs and brief memories to remember one another, and make their decisions by. The film looks good and moments of happiness in America are mirrored with misery in the UK. This – coupled with the fact that these people begin to physically move further and further away from one another – reinforces the idea that this is not as much a relationship as two people clinging on to a brief romance that leads to destruction. The closing shot of the film is perhaps the best (in a film of great shots); it hints at the idea that the characters are finally reaching the same conclusion.
It could be said that the eventual annoyance with the central couple is an examination of the nature of love, but it appears to be more a focus on the nature of addiction, and Shame examines this in much more detail. The young cast of the film cement their positions as rising stars, and there are some very genuine and sweet moments that the audience can relate to, but Like Crazy may well leave audiences wondering at what point do we walk away from one another, and realise that some things are simply not meant to be?