ďI just have to say one thing and it's really important that you just listen to me. I just... It doesn't feel like this, this thing is gonna go away, it's always there. I can't... I can't get on with my life.Ē
Hereís what I wrote about this film late last year:
ďLike Crazy doesnít fit easy or simplistic genre conventions. On one hand it is a relationship dramatic comedy about love; maybe torn asunder, maybe at the moment unavailable, maybe so strong it will survive every obstacle thrown its way. On the other it is a singularly focused character study intimately intertwined within the whirlwind fates of its two young protagonists, a pair of blossoming twenty-somethings just making a go at an adult life. It spins and moves and evolves, it meanders and rambles, it races and plods, sometimes in equal measure, from one idea to the next, always remembering to keep its characters the central catalysts whose own wants, desires and dreams propel matters along.
Directed and co-written by Drake Doremus (Douchebag), the movie is an effervescent valentine of heartbreak, longing and everlasting love that feels lived-in and real. Much like Once, much like Before Sunset, this movie transcends its two-character roots to become something eternal yet ephemeral, a timely, maybe even timeless, drama of what it is to fall for someone and how our modern world of tightening international borders, digital interconnectedness and transcontinental lucidity. It is poignant and moving, and by the time its last, touchingly incandescent final image flickers into darkness I almost couldnít believe all I had been lucky enough to witness.
The basics are simple. Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) are two California college students on the verge of graduation. She makes the first move, but he responds to it with stunning immediacy. The pair fall for one another quickly, latching on in a way bordering on the primitive, both having the unshakable feeling they were meant to be together and that their fates will be eternally intertwined.
This unthinking rapture gets them into trouble, Anna overstaying her student Visa Ė sheís from London Ė suddenly finding herself in trouble with both U.S. immigration and Homeland Security. The couple is forced to try and make a go of their relationship on a transatlantic level, talking to one another via phone and internet, Jacob even going so far as to make the long trek abroad even though his finances are still relatively tight as his furniture design business is just starting out.
From there things donít quite progress as youíd expect them to, Doremus refusing to follow the usual template letting his film play itself out in a series of snapshots reflecting Anna and Jacobís respective lives as they try to figure out where to go next. Months pass, even years, the pair finding solace in other arms yet always magnetically drawn back together no matter what. Things float between California and the U.K., moving back and forth with a melodic grace filled with verbal and visual poetry. There is seldom a false beat, nary a sour note, the emotional undercurrents swirling with an urgency and a ferocity uniquely their own.
The supporting cast is excellent, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead, Finola Hughes and Chris Messina all popping up in important character roles helping drive the narrative forward. But as good as they all are collectively, none of what they do would mean a hill of beans without Yelchin and Jones. The two of them are stunning, working off one another in a way that rips the screen to shreds and makes their aching all the more affecting. I was blown away, and at this point I canít even begin to imagine what the film would have been like without the both of them.
At the same time, all things being equal it is Jones who ends up making the most indelible imprint. Sheís unforgettable, diving into this role with a raw abandon that had me spellbound. Her ability to move from one emotion to the next, the way she makes her yearnings for Jacob so visceral, the way she projects an intelligence and a warmth that is virtually all encompassing, all of it adds together to create a performance that leaps off the screen. From her triumphs to her mistakes, from her flaws to her accomplishments, this is a young woman I could relate to and empathize with, and while I didnít respect all of her choices that didnít mean I couldnít understand exactly where they were coming from at the same time.
Iím stunned by what Doremus has accomplished. Prior efforts like Douchebag and especially Spooner hardly had me believing in the manís talent as filmmaker, and to see him take things to an almost Richard Linklater meets Woody Allen plain of existence is somewhat extraordinary. This concept, this story, much of it improvised in rehearsals and then put to the page afterwards Š la Mike Leigh, borders on revelatory. In many ways I didnít want it to end, and when Like Crazy did all I wanted to do was sit down and explore all of its many facets again right that second.Ē
Quite frankly, I think I loved this one more at home than I did in the theatre, and I gave the darn thing four-stars the first time around. The movie is an effervescent sensation building to the kind of risky, what-happens-next conclusion that continues to leave my head spinning, the whole thing a daring high-wire act everyone involved should be incredibly proud of.
Like Crazy is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 1080p 1.78:1 transfer.
This disc features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and includes optional English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Not a lot of extras. The collection of Deleted and Alternate Scenes are solid, but itís easy to see why all the material didnít make the final cut. As for the Audio Commentary with director Drake Doremus, editor Jonathan Alberts and cinematographer John Guleserian, itís excellent, the trio loading up on tons of interesting information on the film and its production that I found quite compelling.
Like Crazy was one of 2011ís best and most underrated films. I have this sneaky suspicion that this is a movie Iím going to be talking about and extolling the virtues of for some time, and I couldnít recommend giving this Blu-ray a look more passionately.