Like Crazy (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Like Crazy (2011)

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I have to admit that it is very difficult to control the lesser parts of my personality sometimes, especially when it comes to reviewing films.  Certain memories come flooding up which trivialize the events unfolding on the screen and I just want to start shouting at the characters.  Worse, there are moments I don't have anything really to say and just want to start making noises at their lives in an attempt to realign them into some kind of strong narrative force.

"Waaaaaaaaah" I kept crying without sympathy toward the young couple at the center of Like Crazy.  The noise kept coming back as their little romance was shattered repeatedly by the expectations of life.  It got louder everytime Jacob (Anton Yelchin) started talking about the difficulty of leaving his chair design business to cross the ocean to be with his lady love, Anna (Felicity Jones).  My lord what a hard life he lives, courting not only her but taking pauses to also be wooed by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence.

Again and again the sound came erupting through my head.  Another montage of their relationship set to slow piano music, "Waaaaaaaaaah".  Another set of quiet stares while the reality of time sets in, "Waaaaaaaaaah".  Another set of reconciliation scenes while they share in each other's professional successes, "Waaaaaaaaaah".

They could have both used a good hard slap, not the soft babying Drake Doremus provides in his film.  It's clear he understands breaking up is hard to do, but what's not entirely clear is that once separated folks tend to stay apart.  There are exceptions, but not one's set to the multitude of slow motion indie-rock montages that permeate the framework of Like Crazy.

There are times I thought I was in a stop motion advertisement for the bands normally endorsed by Pitchfork's more sensitive reviewers.  The soft focus and warm light caresses each of their attractive bodies while we wait in anxious anticipation for the next time one or the both of them will cry.  No matter the sadness, we know based on the endlessly repetitious cycle set forth by the film that they'll end up with each other again.  I'm not convinced at that stab at Blue Valentine level emotional realism at the end, these two are one Jason Mraz montage away from being back in each other's arms again, no matter the sad faces they're making at one another.

Movies like this are less about how we remember our failed relationships but more how we wish for other people to remember them for us.  The arguments and issues that Anna and Jacob have after their initial college flirtation are neatly glossed over as if their moments together are an anecdote a well meaning friend tells an acquaintance about their love.  "If only they had time for one more high class montage," their friend wonders aloud, "they might have been together for all time."

To convey his mid-afternoon post-romantic musings, Drake Doremus decided to cast the most insincere actor working today.  Anton Yelchin, with the sole exception of his role in the rebooted Star Trek, has yet to deliver a performance that didn't reek of a kind of insecure desperation that he really can act.  He's the poster child for indie level insincerity, from the forced cool of Charlie Bartlett to the cloying cynicism of Fierce People, Yelchin is the most surprisingly employed actor of his generation.  Felicity Jones comes off a little better, but given the mixtape brand filmmaking she's left to work with she doesn't create anything more than the whiff of a character.

There's no urgency to the romance at the center of Like Crazy, only a cozy atmosphere of romantic denial set in the upper class.  It's hard to feel bad for either Anna or Jacob, seeing as though they're not written outside of their relationship or their jobs, and both are so pie in the sky optimistic they make me long for a time in film where love wasn't in stop motion or set to soft indie rock.  I want passion, not two people driving go-carts together and suddenly deciding it's true love.

Like Crazy is the most routine romance of its kind and a story you don't need to hear.  When you listen to the sympathetic friend wondering why they never got together, the rest of us will just shake our heads and wonder why they (and we) wasted so much time on each other to begin with.  Some loves just aren't worth salvaging.

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Like Crazy (2011)

Directed by Drake Doremus.
Screenplay by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones.
Starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones.

Posted by Andrew

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. The chemistry between these two are great and I think what the film tries to convey with this long-distance relationship works well but then there are the schmaltzy moments that I think took me away from this love that they had. Also, why the hell would you just wait to see your Visa over-expire? Good review Andrew.

    • Thanks for the comment Dan. There are moments where it seems Doremus is really onto something with the way he handles long-distance relationships (I did like their cross-Atlantic conversations). But then he launches into another indie rock montage and completely loses me. Then there’s my intense dislike of Yelchin, I hope he matures his performances into something more palatable because he is incapable of anything other than chemistry of the insincere, grating kind so far.

  2. I pretty much agree with you on this one. I kept thinking that they were both better off with the “other” halves of their respective couples.

    By the way, I tried to subscribe by email to this site, but I got an error message saying that you don’t have subscription email embedded. Not sure if that’s on my end or yours, but I thought I’d let you guys know.

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