‘Like Crazy’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 12th, 2014 at 9:43 pm,

Like Crazy starring Felicity Jones Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence Review Like Crazy Review

Despite some issues with its structure and choice of focus, Like Crazy is yet and still one of the best modern day love stories to come along in the last few years.

In Like Crazy, director Drake Doremus attempts to chronicle the struggle of one young couple’s romance – a love they try to preserve across the span of years, geographic distance, as well as through personal and professional changes. The film posits a simple question: Can something as sincere and bright and fragile as true love survive the tortuous road of life?

Anna (Felicity Jones) is a bright and fiery young writer in her last year of college in Los Angeles. It’s there that she meets Jacob (Anton Yelchin), a quiet and shy young carpenter studying furniture design. Modern times being what they are it’s Anna who makes the first move, writing a love letter to Jacob inviting him out on a date, where the two find they have an instant, undeniable and passionate connection. Their love is carefree and strong until reality inevitably intervenes: after graduation Anna’s student visa will expire, and she’ll be forced to return home to London. The thought of separating tears at both young lovers’ hearts, until Anna makes a bold decision: she’ll ignore the mandates of her visa and instead spend a joyous summer in Jacob’s arms.

The summer couldn’t be happier for the couple, and when Anna finally returns to London, it’s on the assumption that it will only be brief absence. However, the powers that be don’t take the issue of visa violation lightly, and Anna and Jacob soon find themselves in a nightmare of immigration laws and bureaucratic entanglements, as they fight desperately to stay connected with one another. This battle for love spans several years as Anna and Jacob both grow and change and come together and drift apart – try to find love elsewhere only to struggle with the inescapable magnetism of true love.

Like Crazy second movie trailer Like Crazy Review

Yelchin and Jones in ‘Like Crazy’

Like Crazy is bolstered by the fantastic performances of its two young leads. The chemistry between Jones and Yelchin is understated, yet nonetheless powerful and engaging to watch. The pair communicate volumes of thought and emotion in the simplest looks, gestures, and smiles; the connection between Anna and Jacob feels genuine and organic and almost always logical in the way it develops and turns. Of the pair, it’s Jones who stands out the most, playing a nicely updated version of the damsel in love; the film as a whole offers us characters who are refreshingly modern spins on classic romance movie gender roles and tropes. This is a very timely love story.

However, while the characters themselves are strong points, the pacing and story structure of Like Crazy (co-written by Doremus’ and his frequent collaborator, Ben York Jones), is likely to be off-putting to some viewers. The film is an exploration of specific moments over the course of a long and winding relationship; the jumps in time between one scene and another can be a bit jarring, even though Doremus does try to transition the viewer smoothly via technical tricks like montage or sped-up footage. Still, there are several points in the film where one intimate or emotionally intense scene gives way to a new time and completely new circumstances for the characters, and Doremus and Jones are not always successful in preserving the narrative or thematic through-lines they want the viewer to follow.

These interruptions are especially noticeable in the storylines for supporting characters like Samantha (Jennifer Lawrence) and Simon (Charlie Bewley) – two people that Jacob and Anna respectively become entangled with as they struggle with their own relationship. The moments of Sam and Simon coming in and out of sight highlight the kind of drastic changes that the viewer is asked to accept suddenly and with little warning, and also highlight the second problem of the filmmakers’ narrative approach: focus.

Like Crazy Starring Anton Yelchen and Felicity Jones Like Crazy Review

In this film, the love between Anna and Jacob is almost more of a character than the lovers themselves, in the sense that all we ever see are the moments where their love shines, or resurfaces (for better or worse), is dented by another hardship or healed by reconnection. Obviously the film is about Jacob and Anna’s interactions – and tonally this film is very understated, often relying on inference and subtlety –  but given the weight of certain subplots and secondary characters, there are some important moments that the viewer is never granted insight into. Through its hopscotch structure, Like Crazy asks us to simply accept that certain changes to circumstance or the characters have occurred, without letting us see the pivotal moments when said characters made their decisions, or why.

This issue becomes even more prominent in the final unceremonious moments of the film, which will certainly leave some viewers confused about the proverbial ‘point of it all,’ while others are discouraged altogether. It’s a shame, because the subtly with which Doremus and Jones craft their story makes the ending of Like Crazy an earnest and insightful comment on the nature of love. And given the talents of the two actors conveying the tale, it would have been easy – enriching even – to mark some additional key moments along the journey, which would’ve made the destination that more satisfying and resonant.

Despite some issues with its structure and choice of focus, Like Crazy is yet and still one of the best modern day love stories to come along in the last few years. A must-see for anyone who can relate to the idea of life getting in the way of love (i.e., just about all of us).

Check out the trailer for the film below:

Like Crazy is now playing in theaters.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

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  1. Hey Kofi, based on your review you really seem to focus on the lack of focus! (Pun totally intended) and jumps in time. For a 4 star movie… I would think that this mishaps are not too relevant. Can you tell me if I’m gonna be scratching my head over this one? Or is this a breath of fresh air to romantic movies that would make your average movie goer overlook the flaws? Which is what I would expect out of a 4 star movie actually. 😉

    • It’s more “indie/artsy” than some people may expect.

  2. Yeah,I’m kinda with Fito, Kofi…I was kinda thrown off by your review. I mean, i guess i kinda like “indie/artsy” movies, and you gave this one four stars, but i kinda finished the review wondering if i’d wait for this one to rent. What do you recommend?

    • I’d always recommend you see a movie based on the trailer and the premise. See how the review compares to your thoughts and impressions afterward. But that’s just me.

  3. Based on the films trailer I very much did not want to see Like Crazy, but I think you’ve won me over. I often find that no matter what problems there are with a film, as long as the main characters are engaging, realistic and entertaining to watch, then it’s worth seeing.

    If the time jumps do end up being too assuming & jarring, I think I’ll just have to come home afterwards and watch the one film that your summary kept making me think of; Brokeback Mountain. All of the faults mentioned here I think are some of Brokeback’s biggest strengths

  4. Great movie, just felt let down at the end and wanted resolution. Agreed 100% with your review. Also I think you meant to say ACCEPT instead of EXCEPT in this statement…
    “The moments of Sam and Simon coming in and out… viewer is asked to except suddenly and with little warning”

  5. this is simply a supber movie

  6. Is Yelchin going bald?

  7. This is an awful movie, I agree they have tried to make it like 500 Days Of Summer. But I went to see it the day it came out and it was just boring! Take a camera to an indie girls love life and you have this movie. When I walked in the cinema there was approx 15 people watching it, when I walked out there was about 7 people (other than me and my two friends) actually left that had watched it the whole way through. It gets a fraction of a bit better after a while but I would not recommend it to anybody.

    The trailer looked very good, I was so dissapointed.

    • I think the movie had a refreshing familiar vibe that got more intriguing as you got deeper into the story and was definitely worth watching (in my opinion) but, as many have stated the use of time lapse leaves a lot to be desired. Especially, the crucial relationship development of Simon and Samantha towards the end. I kind of understand where they were going with it but again the lapse should have been clearer to the viewer… (did they leave on bad terms after the fight in England and start living separate lives while married, were they open with each other while they were seeing Simon and Samantha for those aprox. 6 months.) Finally, the biggest question of all…. was the awkwardness that Anna and Jacob felt at the end when she finally arrived at the airport in L.A. because of their unfaithful guilt? Was it regret Anna was feeling for breaking things off with Simon that seemed to be going so well and growing quite serious (as her mother had stated how she noticed her “Glowing” before he purposed and got shot down). Was Jacob really excited about Anna coming to live with him? The possibilities that Samantha and Jacob had also grown content and closer together as well were all there during the final minutes of the film as a sign they changed and grew apart at the end. However, we were not left totally hanging as clues were given in the final shower scene as they both stood there contemplating in a daze their existence with each other when at that moment they realized the journey they took and the moments they had together still seemed like they had some meaning and maybe embracing fate was worth a shot.

      Again, that’s my take on the ending or at least what I got from it. I’m not a big fan of encrypted choose your own theory endings but, I have to say normally I would have written this movie off as a “Never again waste of time”. But, strangely I’m hoping I missed something the first time through and maybe will pick up something I missed. Sorry for the poor grammar.


      • Sometimes there isn’t an obvious reason why the chemistry that once was is no longer, in terms of how they felt when they’re finally reunited in the end. I’m not sure what Doremus had in mind, but in my own experience of being in a long long-distance relationship, sometimes it’s like waking from a dream or vice-versa; you are suddenly jolted into another reality and are expected to act accordingly, only to realize that your past-induced perceptions and present-day realities might be very different. Sometimes, if you’re only awake for a short time, going back to the dream is very seamless and easy. But sometimes, and especially when separated to unpredictable visa issues, becoming reunited can feel shocking, especially if you’re expecting the same young-love chemistry that once was.

        • I think you’re right on! Thank you. I needed that.

        • Reading that was really helpful for me. Hope you’re doing well. Thank you.

  8. this movie is so booring and i even don’t know what else to say about it.

  9. The end was a bit confusing. i actually loved the movie, the long distance relationship thing,and crazy obstacles,im going through something similar so it gave me great hope that if its true love,then it will happen in time, just be patient…but back to the movie, i didnt like the end, they could have acted happier..

    • To me it wasn’t that they weren’t happy. But within In a very short period of time they both went through huge changes. Especially Anna. She just quit her job and moved to the states. That’s a lot to take in quickly.
      I think most everyone, including myself wants a big Hollywood firework ending. But that’s not real life.
      I felt in the closing scenes that they were both just embracing remembering old times. Them realizing that it’s going to take a lot work to get back there.

  10. I liked this movie. Don’t watch it if you’re going through a long distance relationship, you’ll get depressed. In end, I do think they realize that things have changed, they aren’t the people they once were. It happens. Sometimes people break up despite themselves, they want things to work but too much has gotten in the way. Sometimes when you screw up (the visa situation) you can’t undo it.

    I understand why some people wouldn’t like this movie, its slow moving and you have to pay a lot of attention to body language. Its not like most movies out there where everything is spelled out to you. If you’re looking for an upbeat romance, don’t pick this movie. If you’re looking for something with a faster pace, don’t pick this movie. But if you want something with a lot of realism (which can work for and against a movie), pick this movie.

  11. I just saw the movie and read your review moments later, I think you’re right, the lack of focus some part of this story. What I missed in this movie was that the relationship between them never felt like anything more than what they had with these other characters, it might have been the lack of chemistry between the actors, which is a shame. After all this is a pretty relevant love story about love and life today, which I can relate to.
    I enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it, but it will not go down in history, at least not mine.

  12. Do they end up together , I dont get it ?

  13. Do they end up together , I dont get it ??

  14. I just watched the movie and had to find some comments on the movie’s ending, and then I found this review. I had really wanted to see this movie for the last couple months, as they have been advertising it over and over when I watch ON DEMAND station. Seeing the advertisement over and over made me think, it must be a great movie and love story, so I finally found it at my library. I was a little disappointed in the ending at first, but how could they have really ended it? Like everything is a fairy tale and their life is back to how it was in the beginning? That would be unlikely in real life. I kept thinking when she came to Jacob’s new apartment that she would find remnants of the other woman (Sam), but it never got that far. They take the shower together and can’t seem to find that magic anymore. I wondered, do you think that she decided to go home after that? Back to Simon? Or did they make it work? That is the question one has to wonder about at the end of this movie. It’s like they wanted what they couldn’t have (due to the visa issue), but then when they finally were able to have IT, the feeling was almost a let down to both of them. Jacob seemed pretty happy with Sam, yet then he’d think about Anna when she would start texting him again. I was surprised when she summoned him to get married, that he just dumped the other woman and went and did it. And do people in England always get married sitting down? LOL Diana and Charles were standing, and so was Prince William and his princess!

  15. I liked so much this movie, especially because I was involved in an imaginary relationship like this one for so long.
    From my experience, even if you try to work it out with different parteners you will never find that magic you had with your special person. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that I am aware of the fact that what drawn you into him/her is actually the feeling that it is impossible. Once it starts being possible it is not so exciting anymore. I came to believe it is in human nature not to be satisfied with his/her condition.

    • I felt the same way. I had a relationship that was basically imaginary and I think that fairy tale type of romance is what drew me in. The realism in the ending what I love/hate about it most. Once the ultimate goal of being united with your true love has been fulfilled is there any purpose left in life?

  16. Where they meant to be happy at the end?

  17. i didn’t think i’d enjoy this movie, but i enjoyed it very much, more than i had anticipated. i love the story, the pace, the simple conversations and how the actors engaged themselves with simple gestures, looks, laughter, smile, etc. to communicate their emotions. Modern day romantic movies are way too flashy, and often they are too superficial for me. I don’t remember the last time i actually enjoyed watching a romantic movie as thoroughly as I did with “Like Crazy”.

  18. i dint liked the ending, its a good movie tho