Drake Doremus' film is a surprisingly tender look at the fragile nature of long-distance relationships.
As much as Hollywood would like to believe otherwise, romantic dramas are seldom all that relatable. Often fluttering somewhere between the outlandishly contrived and the wholly unbelievable, few ever achieve that rare goal of striking a resonant emotional chord. With this in mind, director Drake Doremus has gone a long way to re-write the rulebook; this isn’t so much a love story as it is a film about the experience of being in love.
One of the most coveted films at last year’s Sundance, Like Crazy defies many of the expectations associated with the genre. Anchored by two beautifully understated performances from Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin, the film follows Anna and Jacob, two young lovers from opposite sides of the Atlantic, who meet while studying in Los Angeles where Anna is an exchange student.
Having forged a close relationship over the course of her stay, when the times comes for Anna to return to the UK she decides to break the terms of her visa and remain with Jacob for the summer. On returning to the US some months later, Anna finds herself unable to enter the country and the couple are faced with the prospect of having to make their relationship work from opposite sides of the pond.
Loosely based on his own experiences, Doremus’ handling of the subject matter is affectingly sincere. The largely improvised performances afford the film a refreshingly honest and often unsettlingly realistic depiction of romance pushed to the brink and, much like Blue Valentine before it, Like Crazy subsequently provides a welcome breath of fresh air in a tired format.
While it’s not without its flaws, what could have easily been an indulgently sentimental affair reveals itself to be a surprisingly tender look at the fragile nature of long-distance relationships. It’s one that marks Doremus out as a talent to be reckoned with.
One of the most coveted films at last year’s Sundance.
Yelchin and Jones have never been so compelling.
An unexpected and deeply moving tale of the fragility of young romance.