Like Crazy is an 100-percent hopeless romance sponsored by American Apparel. The young, sexy teens of the film inhabit an imaginary world that every doe-eyed high school hipster can only wish to occupy.
Like Crazy is a snowglobe filled with wonder and teenage lust that director Drake Doremus (Douchebag, Spooner) loves to shake for his audience. The threat of him breaking the glass and tearing down the foundation would only be threatening if the relationship at the core of the film didn’t seem to fake.
Director: Drake Doremus
Release Date: October 28
Like Crazy‘s world is one of missed connections, expansive lofts at no costs, and ideal jobs that are just waiting for the young and hopeless. It’s a world where upgrade in pay accompanies every heartbreak — just in time for a montage of young, sexy people wallowing in pity and doing cool rich people stuff.
Here’s the first fantastic thing about living in the world of Like Crazy: Unbelievably attractive British girls, such as Anna played by Felicity Jones, fall head-over-heels in love with you and initiate romance via three-page love poems. HELL YEAH! Jacob (Anton Yelchin) has no qualms with this approach, and so a summer of romance sparks between Jacob, the teacher assistant, and Anna, the British exchange student. Sans boobies, I should add.
The opening of Like Crazy is so twee that few will be able to look past it and Doremus’ foot fetish. The film is undeniably beautiful though thanks to stellar direction, cinematography, and gorgeous clothes that stand as a replacement for personality among the main characters. The introductory romance between Anna and Jacob is pieced together in a slapdash fashion, but that’ doesn’t mean it’s a bore.
The first date between the two is so intense that it’s almost comical. I’ve never known true love, but I’ve also never known a couple who ended a date trying to get to third-base with a door between them. It feels like a commercial for breath mints or something. The same can be said of most the film which continuously borders on being a superficial shlockfest.
Soon enough, a conflict occurs that starts the film on downward spiral of heartbreak and jealousy. Anna’s Student Visa has expired and now she is confined to English life, without a dreamy Yelchin beside her. It’s easy to sympathize — haven’t we all been without a dreamy Yelchin, for some amount of time, in our lives?
The rest of the film depicts the constant struggle to sustain a long-distance relationship, along with the difficulty that comes with resparking an old flame. The intensity and amount of brooding in this film is on some next-level shit. If you love to dwell in the pity and sorrow of a heartbroken 20-something, Like Crazy has much to offer. It often recalls All the Pretty Girls but it lacks that film’s scope and atmosphere. The film will also draw comparisons to Blue Valentine, though the performances in Like Crazy aren’t quite as memorable or the script as bleak.
Other than a couple scenes with Anna’s parents, Like Crazy rarely leaves Jacob and Anna out of the frame. We are given only a very brief glimpse at each of the two’s work-life and friends. It’s an interesting decision that makes the doomed romance at the center of the film inescapable, but it also makes the film feel monotonous and over-bearing. The outside world never feels real enough to cement the characters within it.
On one hand, this narrative choice makes the relationship feel like the world which is true to the weight the relationship has on each of their lives. But, it also makes the sudden changes in the two’s lives jarring. When they suddenly have a new lover or occupation, it’s hard to connect to them. We no longer know them and care less for what choices they make. If the relationship is the film’s world, its reality succeeds and fails depending on the strength of the characters. By the film’s end, I felt like I knew Anna and Jacob no better than the out-of-focus classmates in the film’s opening scene.
The eye-candy and performances elevate Like Crazy, but it fails to bring anything new to the genre. Before Sunset, 500 Days of Summer, and All the Pretty Girls have given us much more interesting, stylized glimpses into doomed romances. They capture the apocalyptic heartbreak without completely wallowing in grief.
Like Crazy’s aesthetics clash so much with its narrative that it ends up looking like a starved, sad Vice Magazine model: The sadness feigned, yet the beauty is very much real. Like Crazy is a fashion ad come to life. It’s undeniably pretty but also empty and vain. It all comes down to one question: Do you want to stare at something beautiful for 90 minutes?