"I think the sand is making its way into my pants."
*** (out of four)
I fell madly in love with the best scenes in “Like Crazy,” and there are several of them. So it’s nearly as heartbreaking as the film itself to recognize that it’s merely a good movie with some greatness in it.
To call the plot simple would be suggesting that relationships are simple, and the whole point of writer-director Drake Doremus’ fourth film is that they’re not. At least, not as simple as they should be, considering how blissfully easy it can feel to fall in love--wrapped in delirious smiles and intoxicating kisses and a hyper-focused indulgence of the now.
That’s how it starts for Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) when they begin an all-consuming romance at a Los Angeles college. She’s in on a student visa from the UK, and when it’s time for her to go back, well, of course she doesn’t want to. It’s a decision that’s purely believable at the time, with long-term consequences that turn a spectacular summer together in bed into, in hindsight, perhaps a great mistake of youth.
The biggest fault in “Like Crazy” (which at times recalls last year’s “Blue Valentine”) is its use of numerous chronological jumps. They take a lot of plot developments happening off-screen for granted while Jacob and Anna try to figure out how to make things work a half a world away from each other.
For them, this is surely time that passes slowly and agonizingly, yet Doremus employs these gaps to work in other, underdeveloped romantic opportunities. And turning Jacob and Anna’s wonderful, visa-violating summer into a montage was the wrong move, preventing us from feeling what they feel as they create their own world between the sheets.
Every interaction between these two is magnificent; excellent, understated work from Yelchin and especially Jones intimately captures both the moments that bind and the distance that crushes. Separated by thousands of miles, Jacob and Anna think that they can handle more than they really can, and their feelings become like tattoos under clothes—hidden but impossible to actually suppress.
“Like Crazy” oddly allows us to be privy to certain elements of this relationship and not others. What we observe, however, is words shared, looks exchanged and hearts melding, unaware of what it will take to keep them feeling whole.
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