First, a story to set the mood: In 2005, I was being driven to the airport, having just broken up with someone I didn’t get to see anywhere near as often as I’d like (due to life, geography, money, and other pesky things that seem to get in the way of what you feel (emphasis on FEEL, not KNOW) is true love). I was crying. He was crying. Grand, sweeping statements were said. There was more crying (there’s a LOT of traffic in LA so the car rides you want to be short are always the longest) As I was leaving the car (to go cry in the airport and then on the plane some more), he hugged me goodbye, random promises for the indeterminate future were made and I thought “we may as well be in a movie.” The moment was so filled with melodrama it almost didn’t feel real. But it was.
If you’ve had an experience that in ANY way resembles this (and hey, we’ve all been young and foolish and melodramatic at least once, at least I hope so) then you will not only love “LIKE CRAZY” but you’ll be in tears by the time the credits roll up, and there’s nothing else to say about it. If you’re one of those calm, collected, perfectly rational beings who has emotional goals AND actually reaches them, then, sorry-this is not a movie for you.
“LIKE CRAZY” starts out with the cutest “meet cute” of late: we are introduced to Anna (a soon-to-be-super-famous Felicity Jones) who, in true modern woman spirit, makes a move on a boy she likes. She writes a note (a long, funny, slightly creepy, but charming note) to Jacob (the perfectly boyish Anton Yelchin) and leaves it on his windshield. He calls her. They go have coffee. The coffee turns into whiskey and go-carts and furniture making and feelings and meeting the parents and naps and beach frolics and…. you get the picture.
I will be the first one to admit all of this could potentially feel a little cloying, but the fresh faced stars of the movie are so perfectly cast, you don’t JUST go for it-YOU BELIEVE IT. But then – every movie needs an obstacle and the obstacle here is created when Anna (who calls the shots, always) decides to overstay her student visa (she’s British, and they’re in LA) and is now officially forbidden from coming back to the US until further notice. For a 22 year old in love, this is pretty much the end of the world, and we spend the next hour watching them try to solve this problem, in any which way they can.
Now, I am not going to go into observing how this problem could have been easily avoided and how of all the immigrants to the US, the Brits actually have it comparatively easy, or how, when you really think about it, having the option of moving to London for a loved one should not be that big of a sacrifice. This is NOT a movie about that. This is a movie about the sheer giddiness of young love. And where there are HIGH highs, there must be LOW lows. Jones and Yelchin take you on this roller-coaster of emotions with them and you know that rhyme or reason doesn’t play a big part in their actions, even if their whole relationship hinges on this romantic (and romanticized) memory of a great time spent together when they were very young and very infatuated. It doesn’t take a genius to know that not much of this is REALLY real, but it feels real and when you’re in a situation they’re in, feeling trumps knowing.
Still, as anyone who’s ever been in one will atest- every long distance relationship needs SOME goal you’re both working towards, otherwise you’re just in this limbo of never being quite happy. The problem is that, if the goal you’re trying to achieve is all-consuming as it is for Anna and Jacob, you can miss some of the other things passing you by, like: growing up, growing apart, growing in general. And it is to the movie’s credit that they don’t fully ignore that this is actually happening, even if Anna and Jacob, in their little bubble, do. The ending, which can be interpreted in any number of ways (depending on your emotional state at the time of viewing), is a master class of captured emotion and worth the ticket admission price in and of itself. Now, pass the tissues and those long buried memories. I’m in the mood for a good cry and in absence of transportation opportunities, the movie theater will do