Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Paragraph Movie Reviews: Like Crazy

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

I'm a sucker for romantic movies that tug at the heartstrings, and this was quite a good one (in fact it may have tugged a bit too hard, which is a commentary on my teenage girl-like emotional over-sensitivity and if anything another compliment to the film). Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones could not be more perfect as Jacob and Anna, an American man and British woman who meet in their final year of college and embark on a relationship that is almost immediately sidetracked by issues of distance. They hit the nice moments so well, and you become emotionally invested in their happiness almost instantly, but they're also disturbingly skilled at making their fights remarkably believable for two real people in love; their relationship never feels scripted or rehearsed, which makes the highs higher and the lows heartbreaking (I was agonizing the whole time about how one seemingly simple transgression they make with loving intentions in the first 20 minutes becomes the dragon they must battle for the remaining hour plus). They're backed up by a solid supporting cast where Oliver Muirhead and Alex Kingston shine as Anna's parents while Jennifer Lawrence doesn't do much but look pretty and Finola Hughes seems a bit wasted as well in a cameo. The film is beautifully shot, with director Drake Doremus (whose relationship with his ex-wife the story is apparently based on) specializing in wonderful close-ups and jump cuts. The time lines jumps around quite a bit, which is nice as it helps advance the plot and the characters' relationship, but can also be slightly confusing and make it seem as though you're missing key bits; fortunately Yelchin and Jones ensure that while some tipping points in their journey take place between scenes, the emotional resonance is never lost. I doubt this will go down as an all-time classic and certainly it's the type of movie I'm appreciating a lot while still in the moment of having experienced it, but even stepping back I'm really impressed by the nice little piece these folks have created.