‘Like Crazy’ Love

Long-distance relationships are ones not to be taken practically or on a budget. Logistically, you have to figure in air travel, international long distance charges and the constant stream of “I miss you” texts. They are also the hardest relationships to maintain. One of the features chosen for Sundance’s U.S. Dramatic Competition category, Like Crazy, proves just how it can be for one such young couple. Written by co-writers Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones and directed by Doremus, they present an honest and conflicted relationship drama that goes deep.

We are first presented with the two young lovebirds at the university they both attend in Los Angeles. Jacob, the bookish American, is smitten with the demure British girl, Anna. Once Anna slips a lengthy love note to Ben on his car windshield, their fate is sealed and both initialize seriously passionate coupling.  But since Anna is from London and her school visa expiring at the end of the semester, their time together is limited.

But nothing can deny that strong bond when the love is there and the momentum is high. So a crucial and quick decision was made to disregard the visa and spend a hot, California summer together. Little did they know from that fleeting moment of judgement, it would come back to inflict major repercussions on that bond. After that summer, Anna arranges to return to L.A. for another visit, but a red flag has been raised at the airport due to the expired visa. Her entry was denied and was quickly whisked off to a cold customs room only to be told that she will be deported back to her home in London. Thus beginning a chain reaction to a difficult long-distance relationship. Can their true love withstand the complicated nature of governmental visa regulations? Perhaps, with some determination and patience.

The writers show us the eventual succession of the relationship as Jacob and Anna are now forced to live apart in two different countries. Anton Yelchin portrays Jacob with an earnest and uncanny ability of channeling that simmering passion, which is rare in these types of romantic dramas. Felicity Jones as Anna is almost quite the opposite. She is more enigmatic in trying to decipher the inner feelings she’s harboring during the course of their London to L.A. relationship. But maybe that’s her fear of being alone. When both Yelchin and Jones are onscreen together canoodling, that sense of bittersweet foreboding is evident.

Director Drake Doremus deftly drops clues that make it clear to us and to the characters about where this relationship may be heading. It appears that he has observed closely the torturous travails of young romance. Also he seems to be making a statement on the complications and pettiness of long-distance romance that come like unwelcome tonics. Heavy and saddening, Like Crazy can be understood by those who have experienced this naive type of affair.  This is quick-working Doremus’ second feature chosen for Sundance. His first one, Douchebag, was shown in 2010 as part of the Dramatic Competition films. That film followed two brothers on an eccentric ride to find the younger’s brother’s 5th grade girlfriend. It looks like he’s on a streak with searching for transient love.

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