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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Like Crazy Review

Like Crazy Review
2011, 89 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language

        Like Crazy is this year's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and it completely deserves it.  It follows two people, one British, Anna (Felicity Jones), and the other, American, Jacob (Anton Yelchin) as they fall in love.  But, eventually, Anna's student visa expires and she has to return to London.  So, the two try to make their long distance relationship work.
        This film works on so many levels due to so many factors, the main being the acting.  Felicity Jones, winner of the Special Jury Prize for Best Actress, is on her way to becoming a big star.  As Anna, she shows depth and raw power.  She, as did every other actor, mostly improvised her role.  Improvisation is an incredibly hard form of acting to master, but she does it here beautifully.  Anton Yelchin as her lover Jacob is also excellent as he and Jones have chemistry to rival the Hollywood greats.  The love between them is smoldering and real.  None of it ever feels forced or corny.
        Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar-nominee for last year's Sundance sensation Winter's Bone, also plays the role of Jacob's girlfriend, Sam, while Anna is away.  She adds a sweetness and warmth not usually exuded by supporting/minor characters in films.  Lawrence has an excellent career ahead of her as she will be in the 2012 film adaptation of The Hunger Games.
        Director Drake Doremus does an excellent job here as he directs his already phenomenally talented actors and coaxes natural performances out of them.  The story that he sets up here is completely believable; most will be able to relate in some way or another.  The pain and love felt by Jacob and Anna is beautifully rendered here.  In this film, it is the small moments that matter, such as a whispered conversation under the covers, or just one look of loneliness or joy.  This is most prominent in the final scene (I will not tell you what it is), where one touch and resulting facial expression convey the power of memories of time gone by.  This scene is also very similar to one in this movie's companion, Blue Valentine.
        In addition to all of the pros of this movie, the camerawork is mostly hand-held (not the nausea-inducing kind, though) adding another dimension of reality to the film.
        In terms of cons, I can't really say there are any.
        Overall, Like Crazy is a beautiful film of the ups and downs of love, a movie we have all seen before, but observed so meticulously and acted so well, that it makes this story and film feel fresh and new again.  I cannot wait to see what comes of these actors and director.  They deserve all of the accolades and  attention they can get.

-Joshua Handler

Watch with Blue Valentine and Annie Hall

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