'Like Crazy (PG-13) (3 STARS)
Writers: Ben York Jones and Drake Doremus
Director: Drake Doremus
Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead, Finola Hughes, Charlie Bewley
There is an instant attraction between high school students Jacob and Anna. In a very sweet scene in the beginning of the movie Anna writes a letter to Jacob telling him that she likes him and at the end of the letter writes "I am not nuts". Anna is played by a great new actress named Felicity Jones and she is a delight here as Anna. She is a very beautiful young woman and she makes Anna a memorable character. Anna is very sweet as is Jacob who is played by Anton Yelchin.
"Like Crazy" is effective to me because it captures young love naturally and truthfully. Anna is British and is now living and going to school in America. Her visa has expired for awhile now so when her and Jacob start falling in love with each other there will be an obstacle staring them in the face. Anna goes home for the summer and when she tries to return she is stopped by Immigration. She can not re-enter America because of her abuse of her travel visa. All love affairs will face obstacles like this and a lot of relationships are long distance. This is a heartbreaking movie and that is great because all love can be heartbreaking.
This is why the movie worked for me up to a point. I had some problems with the pace of the movie and some too cute moments. I do love and embrace the wonderful performance by Felicity Jones. She nails everything about this love struck young woman who goes through a lot of growing pains well. I liked Yelchin as Jacob but I found his performance slightly weaker than Jones's. I do like how they capture conversations between the two that were mostly improvised by the actors. They do a good job with the dialogue and this movie reminds me of "Before Sunrise" though half as good as that wonderful movie.
I wasn't bowled over by "Like Crazy" but I love Felicity Jones's performance and I like how the movie captures real love. Jacob and Anna's relationship will be tested like all real relationships are. When Anna is in England and Jacob is in L.A. they will become slightly estranged from each other. We know real life long distance relationships will go through this so I admire the frankness and reality of the story. Each person will get involved with others but of course Jacob and Anna's love will conquer any obstacle like that. Of course they will wind up back with each other if their love is that strong.
As a whole I can't fully embrace this movie but I love little moments. I love when Jacob meets Anna's parents played by Alex Kingston (TV's ER) and Oliver Muirhead. I love in a couple of scenes the interaction between Jacob, Anna and the parents. You can tell Anna's parents love Jacob and I love the father's and mother's reactions to him. Compare that to the dinner the parents have with another man that Anna is with when she separates with Jacob. You can tell that the parents don't have the same love for this guy that they did for Jacob. "Like Crazy" nails true, young love very well and Felicity Jones is a revelation.