My husband and I watched Like Crazy last night. It won best picture at the Sundance Film Festival but, like most indy films, was quietly released. I remember seeing one trailer of it and then heard nothing more. That is, until, it appeared as on option in my "On Demand" queue. Always suckers for a good romance, we settled in to watch.
If you haven't heard of Like Crazy, here's the trailer:
I judge a good story--whether a film, novel, short story, or other--by how hard and long it clings to me. With that as a measurement, I can safely say that this is one of the best told and acted films I've seen in a very, very long time. The chemistry between the characters was so palpable and so beautifully and believably portrayed.
The storyline follows Anna, a British exchange student, and Jacob, an American while the two meet in Los Angeles in college. We're given a front row seat at their courtship. They're young, but also introspective and hungry to see the world, so brutally open and honest to experience "this" whatever "this thing" was or could be between them. They were playful and childlike with one another, sexual and flirtatious, and their love had a certain wanting quality that I think is so difficulty to portray because this wanting is equal for the two of them. This is a story of a great love. Yes, it seems it's their first love but it's also a love like no other.
Indy films are often more reflective of real life and Like Crazy is no exception. Ana choses to stay the summer with Jacob rather than go back to London because her student visa is about to expire. She simply can't stand the thought of being without him and so the two of them spend one blissful summer together. At its end, Anna must return to London for a wedding but when she tries to return into the U.S., she's banned until further notice due to overstaying her initial visa. This creates a domino effect as both Jacob and Ana try to navigate now grown-up, post-college life with the added strain of a long distance relationship.
The movie examines the two as they create their own respective lives without one another and during visits, try to reintroduce their love life with their real life (or every day life). There's a scene where Jacob is at a bar and Anna calls him urgently needing to talk. When he escapes out into the back alley to take the call she says to him quite bravely and poignantly, "It just doesn't feel like this thing is gonna go away. It's always there. I can't get on with my life. The thing we have with each other, I don't have that with any other person, not with any other human being apart from you."
The two ebb and flow. They evolve individually, together, and separately. They go away and come back together. It's beautiful and it's messy. It's life. You can't watch this movie and not cheer for them, because you feel it too. The storytelling is so on point that when Anna says this to Jacob, you just believe. If you've never felt like that before then you dream of it and if you have, you remember or you turn to the person watching the movie next to you and you remind them how you feel, because sometimes in life we find not only love but great love, big love, all consuming love that we're just crazy with it. It might change. We might change. But somewhere, in our heart, it never leaves.