Jacob and Anna meet in Los Angeles, just before they both graduate from university, and fall quickly and madly in love. That is not their story: their initial romance is glossed over in a hasty montage, for we know those clichés all too well and don’t need them drawn out again. Screenwriters Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones (Doremus directs) have a more mature love story in mind: one about what it takes to maintain a relationship after that first blush of love and that first rush of hormones, and the stupid mistakes that can threaten it.
First stupid mistake: Anna, who is from London, foolishly overstays her student visa to spend that postcollege summer with Jacob, and then cannot return to the US after what she had intended to be a brief visit home. From there, Like Crazy walks a delicate line in a lovely way, never underplaying the blunders these two young people make but never failing to make us like them anyway.
This is a film that would rise or fall on its cast… and the filmmakers could not have chosen better than Anton Yelchin (The Smurfs) as Jacob and Felicity Jones (Chalet Girl) as Anna, both hugely appealing but with just the right amount of tart edginess to keep them real, and to ensure that we scowl with disapproval at some of what they do. Really, guys? Did you think, even given a transatlantic separation, that getting that involved with someone else — Jacob in L.A. with Sam (Jennifer Lawrence: X-Men: First Class), Anna in London with Simon (Charlie Bewley: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) — was going to work out for anyone?
(Just plain fun: Alex Kingston [Doctor Who] and Oliver Muirhead [The Social Network] as Anna’s parents. Though they do accidentally highlight the mysterious lack of presence of any of Jacob’s family.)
The pleasure of the film is how it refuses to give Anna and Jacob easy paths or easy outs for their mistakes, yet never gives up hope for a return to the ease and joy of their earlier togetherness.
viewed during the 55th BFI London Film Festival