Movie review: ‘Like Crazy’ (2011)

“Like Crazy,” written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones, directed by Doremus, 90 minutes, rated PG-13.

A little over a year ago, I was interviewing writer-director Drake Doremus about his film “Douchebag” when he mentioned a movie he was just finishing up starring Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence. My interest was piqued.

That film, “Like Crazy,” went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and has since become one of the break-out indie hits of 2011.

Shameless name dropping aside, “Like Crazy” has placed Doremus in the spotlight, and for good reason. The film was drawn from a 50-page outline with the actors improvising their dialogue, creating an organic love story with an independent spirit and a voice all its own.

“Like Crazy” stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as Jacob and Anna, a young couple caught in the whirlwind of new-sprung love. It’s intoxicating, intense and carefree. Although it seems like that love will last forever, Anna – an citizen of England – has to return home as her final semester comes to a close and her visa expires. But rather than separate for the summer, Jacob and Anna throw caution to the wind and neglect the rules of the visa.

Their disobedience leads the authorities to ban Anna from the states for an extended and undetermined period of time. While Jacob plants his roots in Los Angeles designing furniture, Anna’s life also begins to move forward in England. As they grow apart, there’s a connection lingering from their impetuous relationship that keeps bringing Jacob and Anna back to each other.

Is it true love? Is it their desire to recapture those last moments of irresponsible youth that they shared? Or is it more comparable to a phantom memory that Anna and Jacob have created and held on to tightly?

“Like Crazy” is part of a greater film movement, setting itself so deeply in reality that it’s hardly discernible from our own world. Jacob and Anna are true to life, from their mistakes and decisions down to their mannerisms and dialogue. The direction of Doremus encourages collaboration, and “Like Crazy” becomes a collection of the cast and crew’s own life experiences.

“Like Crazy” is a film that captures the essence of human nature. It’s hip, original and authentic, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call “Like Crazy” one of the definitive love stories of our generation.

Grade: A-

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