Relationships are a bit like the movie prints we grew up with – sometimes they don’t run so smooth. They can be turned upside down, get damaged and need desperately repairing (before being placed back on the spool), and they sometimes don’t play out as planned (you haven’t seen “Twins”
until you’ve seen it played upside down and with a muffled soundtrack on the big screen). In short, relationships aren’t what Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey tell you they are (every bloody Summer).
Director Drake Doremus’s “Like Crazy”, much like last year’s “Blue Valentine”, gives the middle finger to the Hollywood relationship pic. With its sombre plotting, inconclusive end and warts n’all approach to being in and out of love, it’s either going to really grab you or, well, lose you.
Let’s pause for a minute.
Frankly, those still pissing on about the merits of Adam Sandler’s “Jack & Jil” will likely find themselves irked by the languid and somewhat disheartening tale of teen-romance on hand – because there’s no spoon on hand to be fed with. Okay, that’s a bit rough. I understand where they’re coming from though – they want to see a movie to escape reality, not be reminded of how harsh it can be. Fair enough.
As someone said to me at the end of screening my film “Complacent”.
“It was well done, but If I wanted to see depressing real-life relationship stuff, I only need look out the window”.
“Complacent”, also a relationship drama that plods along slowly and without your typical feel-good Hollywood ending, split audiences in the same way I feel “Like Crazy” will.
If you want to feel like you’re watching something real play out, it’s for you; if you want a movie, with all the bells and whistles and buttons you usually have pressed, then hang out for whatever Nicholas Sparks and Hollywood are collaborating on next.
But to “Like Crazy”.
Anton Yelchin, taking a break from the fluffy studio fare he’s been dry humping for the past two years (really? “Fright Night”!?), gets down and dirty with the role of an American student who falls for a British classmate. It’s a terrific performance, one that demonstrates the actors resourcefulness but also, interestingly-enough, has him playing an adult – something he rarely gets a chance to do. This is the performance that may do for Yelchin what “Blue Valentine” did for Ryan Gosling.
The fresh faced beauty playing the female lead is Felicity Jones. The British actress, seen earlier this year in the dire skiing comedy “Chalet Girl”, is a delightful mix of sweet and sour – in other words, your typical imperfect human – in the film. It’s a real human turn the grinny Jones puts in as the sad, pining Brit who overstays her visa in America and is cheerlessly separated from her Yankee beau (leading the duo to form relationships with others on the same side of the pond; Jennifer Lawrence playing Yelchin’s stand-in love, Charlie Beweley playing hers).
Together, Yelchin and Jones have more Fireworks than a state fair carnival here.