Like Crazy: movie review
‘Like Crazy’ rides on the thrill and the devastation of first love.
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Chief among those confusions is Anna's mistake in overstaying her student visa because she can't bear to leave Jacob. Banned from re-entering the United States after a short trip back to England, she and Jacob endure, off and on, over a period of several years, the pangs of breaking up and recombining. Anna, in particular, seems stricken by her love for Jacob. She can't shake her feelings for him.Skip to next paragraph
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Doremus captures the deadening aloneness of their separations. It is often in the most crowded of situations, in bars or in clubs surrounded by friends, that Anna and Jacob seem the most alone. They can text each other or call across continents – and they do, often at inopportune moments – but the connection only confirms the absence. When Jacob impulsively flies to London to visit Anna, they both come alive, but the bewilderment remains. Closeness carries its own confusions.
We begin to observe widening hairline fractures in their devotion, and it's a terrible thing to see because Anna and Jacob seem so poetically perfect for each other. The dissolution, if that's what it is, of their love carries a symbolic weight. If these two people can't overcome these trials, then what hope is there for any of us?
Doremus allows his actors to work intuitively, as he does, and so we are free to make up our own minds about Anna and Jacob. As in all good romances, the love is never entirely equal between the lovers. Moment-by-moment we must gauge whose love is stronger, whose devotion is more likely to give way, who will patch things up or bust things up. No one is really to blame for any of this tumult, but in Anna and Jacob's wake are a host of good people upended by the couple's agitations, including Simon (Charlie Bewley), a smitten neighbor; Jacob's love-struck office assistant Sam (Jennifer Lawrence, in a small, pointed role); and Anna's relentlessly compassionate parents (beautifully played by Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead).
Doremus, often utilizing quick cuts, jump-cuts, and time-lapse montages, nevertheless gives us a startlingly filled-out portrait of Anna and Jacob. What he is saying is that it is in the off moments, the sidelong glances and captivating stares, that one can best capture the tenor of people's lives. There is a certain bedewed quality to this approach – Doremus, for example, never really shows Anna or Jacob having sex, although, tellingly he shows them, briefly, in the throes of passion with others. For a film about, among other things, the way sex can addle your senses, this omission may be too coy a ploy.
Still, we get the point: The consequences of love, or its absence, is where the real action lies. Few films are as good as this one at orchestrating the rejuvenations and dissolutions of a love gone right and wrong. Grade: A (Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language.)