The thing about romantic comedies is that they’re the safer bet when it comes to love stories. On Valentine’s Day the sappiest girl is not going to put in something that ends tragically, they are going to put in something where it is pretty much a guarantee that the two will end up together; the prince will save her, the best friends will realize that they loved each other all along, and all that jazz. Like Crazy has both additives that make up the genre’s title, but it is far from these films. It has romance, comedy, drama, and the only guarantee for this love story is that at some point while sitting in the theater you will have your heart broken.
Like Crazy starts out with two college kids noticing each other from across the classroom. Though his hair is on the ridiculous side it is clear that they are going to make the most adorable couple ever, and before you know it you are as hooked to their story as they are. And then the other foot drops. As a student studying abroad, Anna is forced to go back home after graduation, and after that things get rather complicated for the two, throwing in far more hurdles than any relationship should have to withstand.
With an ocean separating the two, a lot of the film actually happens with the two apart, making each moment that they are together much more important to savor. However, there is always this cloud of bittersweet gloom hanging low over the couple as the audience recognizes along with the characters that their lives aren’t going to be that simple and they are really going to have to work at making their love last.
Through editing choices, montages (not the lame kind), and simple moments of Jacob and Anna just sitting or laughing together, it is hard not to truly pray for their sake that love truly concurs all. Not enough can be said about the two main actors, Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones, who play the moments of joy and sadness in a beautiful and truthful way, whether they are in the same room or in different countries. A lot is asked of them as they go through the myriad of emotions, and even the simplest look or change to body language perfectly tells the story of the relationship of the two. Jones also has Oliver Muirhead and Alex Kingston in her corner as her parents, and though the younger couple always takes precedence, the scenes that include these two are some of the most memorable because of what they add. Jennifer Lawrence also does a fine bit of acting in her scenes with Yelchin, but in the end it is always Jones and Yelchin for me.
The problem is it doesn’t really matter what I want. As a little girl who grew up with fairytales, it is hard to accept anything other than a happily ever after for the two, but as the film progresses it is not always easy to see it. So much is working against them as the truth about love is told, for better or worse, and even with the memories of their blossoming love, the reality that they might not make it is always sitting on the shoulder opposite of everything optimistic.
As (500) Days of Summer’s far more depressing cousin, Like Crazy might not be the fairytale romance of childhood dreams, but this does not make it any less worthy of your time. It is real, and thanks to some amazing acting the audience gets to live the highs and lows of a period of time for this couple, going through their emotions with them. It is love, for better and worse.
Final Grade: B+ Follow @BewareOfTrees