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Like Crazy - Review

Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as Jacob and Anna

Review by Tim Carson

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LIKE Crazy won the Grand Jury Prize for a Dramatic Film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it’s easy to see why. It’s a clever, heart-felt look at love and human frailty that’s nicely acted and beautifully constructed. And while it has enough romance to enthral a mainstream audience it has more than enough edge and off-beat touches to raise it head and shoulders above your average multiplex romantic drama.

The film stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as two students – American Jacob and English Anna – who fall in love while studying in Los Angeles. Their love becomes so strong that when the time comes for Anna to return home to England at the end of her studies, she decides to over-stay her visa and spend the summer with Jacob.

It’s a magical time for them both, but also a bad mistake as while Anna’s allowed to leave the country when she tries to return to America she’s refused entry and sent back to England. Suddenly from being together every day the pair is stuck in a long-distance relationship.

Having spent just enough time establishing the bond between the two, the film then spends the rest of the time throwing hurdles in the way of them being reunited.

They do get to spend time together as Jacob finds the time and the money to come to London but life moves on and soon it’s harder to connect across a time-zone as the need to work and live in their respective cities takes hold.

Director (and co-screen-writer) Drake Doremus drops into the lives of the two characters seemingly at random with time moving rapidly. It forces the audience to pay attention and often fools us into jumping to the wrong conclusion. Being thrust into Jacob’s life in America immediately after seeing him together with Anna in London is at first shocking as it appears he’s cheating on her and living with another woman. It’s only as the scene plays out that we realise time has past and the pair have separated.

It’s an intriguing and at first challenging approach. Nothing is easy or straight-forward for us or the characters but it’s what makes the film – and you could say life – interesting.

The two central performances from Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are excellent and so effortlessly natural that at times you feel as if you’re spying on real events. They manage to balance the love and the anger they feel towards each other at various times in the film perfectly. And they are ably supported by a strong cast including Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead and the excellent Jennifer Lawrence.

The film succeeds as it makes you care about the characters and also not know whether they will end up together or even if they should. For a romantic drama in this day and age that’s rare and exciting.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 89mins
UK Release Date: January 27, 2012