Like Crazy: Like, really?

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I scoured the Internet for weeks trying to find a theater here in Houston that would be showing Like Crazy, and when I finally found one, my roommate and I bought tickets right away. I had read so many good things about the movie and the actors, but I found myself lost for words when the movie was over…and not in a good way. I will say this, though. This movie was so maddening and frustrating to me, but I think, in retrospect, that it was because the actors were so believable. So that’s the good thing. Anyone who has experienced heartbreak when it comes to your first love can understand the ridiculousness of the circumstances and seemingly perfect solutions to them in this movie. I’m torn, because I hated the story, but it’s obviously because the actors did such a good job of making it real. Anyway, I’ll try to explain.

So I’m going to say this now: if you haven’t seen the movie and you want to, don’t read on, because I’ll be talking about the whole movie, including the ending. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

First things first. Maybe it’s because I have become so faithful to my newfound freedom after five years with someone I had compromised every bit of myself for, but I found this girl’s devotion heartbreaking. I can understand the spark of new love making you want to risk violating your student visa to stay in the States a couple months longer to be with your boyfriend, but I think that’s also the thing that’s frustrating. You were going to be back in  just a couple of months, Anna. I’m sure you two could deal with making time for each other on the phone or to have some Skype dates. After the visa is violated, she can’t get the ban lifted to move back to the United States to be with her boyfriend. Drama ensues.

Why does she have to be the one to move? Yes, journalism can be done anywhere, but can’t furniture designing be done anywhere, too? I don’t really know of any particular place where fancy furniture is in higher demand than anywhere else. Jacob’s passport status was just fine. Couldn’t he have moved to London? Of course not. Because young boys are selfish.

Then, because we all know young people in “love” are dramatic and mostly driven by hormones, they find themselves in “relationships” with other people. Mind you, this is after they’ve been married to try and get her a marriage visa. Married. They don’t live in the same country much less the same state of mind. It is ridiculous to me that these two are still together at this point.

I also have a problem with the constant staring down of each other in this movie. I get it. Staring at each other creates tension yet also a sense of connection, but when you show a stare-down every 10 minutes, it kind of loses its effect.

Anyway, when the ban on Anna’s travel to the States is miraculously lifted, they get to physically be together in Los Angeles, living in Jacob’s studio. They take a shower together, and we see each one of them flash back to the wonderful times they had together before the crazy past two years of back and forth. Each one of them looks disappointed…and then cut to credits. There was a girl sitting behind me at the theater that literally said, “You’re fucking joking. That’s it?”

I guess my problem with this movie is the story, which is really just a personal problem. The great part is that it’s real. The story and the characters were just so real. I guess the improv method really worked.

What was interesting to me was that, in an interview, Anton Yelchin, the actor who plays Jacob, said that he was actually in a long-distance relationship while filming the movie, and it kind of fell apart. When actors take real-life experiences and put them into their roles, you can see the true vulnerability. He’s a young man, a jealous, brooding boy who isn’t mature enough to deal with the complex reality of his relationship with Anna.

Felicity Jones plays Anna just like any other young girl in love. She’s nurturing, affectionate, and desperate for the love of someone she’s not sure she can actually even have. There’s something about a guy who never really lets you know if he loves you that keeps a girl in first love hanging on. There’s a truth to her performance.

The character who I don’t think got enough screen time or story line was Sam, played by Jennifer Lawrence. She works for Jacob, and she’s in love with him. Here she is, this beautiful girl who is nothing but kind and generous, and he strings her along for his benefit. He’s not even cute, but she loves him because he’s emotionally unavailable. There is something so real about a girl like her, and Jennifer Lawrence plays it so well.

As far as the ending goes, it really made me angry that it just cut off like that, but at the same time, it’s what really happens. When people are in young love, feeding off of the “forbidden” nature of the relationship, what happens when there are no more obstacles, no more drama, and you’re finally allowed to be together? There’s that sense of, “Oh crap, I’m actually stuck with this person.” You have to grow up, and just because you grow up together doesn’t mean you grow together.

In conclusion, I have to say that I give this movie a B. The story was extremely disconcerting, but that’s only because the actors did such a great job of authenticating it. I would suggest you watch this movie, but be prepared for discomfiture and flashbacks to your heartbreaking first love like crazy.

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