Movie: Like Crazy (2011)
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston
Synopsis: Anna is a British exchange student going to college in Los Angeles. She meets fellow student Jacob and the fall in love. After they graduate, Anna decides to stay in LA and spend the summer with Jacob, rather than return to England. However, she is unaware that her student visa expired at graduation and that overstaying a carries stiff penalties. At the end of the summer, Anna returns to England for a family engagement. However, when she tries to go back to LA she is denied entry to the US for her violation of the terms of her visa, and sent back to England. In England, Anna gets a job and she and her parents hire a lawyer to work on getting the ban lifted. Meanwhile, Jacob is working at his successful design business based in LA- it’s not something he can easily leave to move to England. They try to do the long distance thing, but the relationship grows strained so they try to put aside their feelings for each other and move on. However they aren’t able to find in other people what they’ve found with each other. So they decide to marry, hoping that being married to a US citizen will help get Anna back by Jacob’s side sooner. But things still aren’t that easy for them…
My Thoughts: I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that the end of this film is rather ambiguous regarding Anna and Jacob’s future together. I know a lot of people seemed to feel it hinted at an ultimately unhappy ending. But I thought that it was more optimistic than others seemed to think. We see Anna and Jacob’s relationship undergo several phases: the initial attraction and passion in the beginning which is sustained somewhat by the separation and the brief reunions. But we also see them argue, we see them split up and reunite. By the end of the film the characters are more mature than they were at the beginning and so is the relationship. No relationship is static All move through phases. At the end we see that Jacob and Anna are moving into another phase in their relationship. No one knows what it will bring because the film ends. It may not be the same as it was early on. But different isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s just different! I know that the film was loosely based on an experience the filmmaker had in his own life. But the film is still fiction. It exists independent of the filmmaker’s experiences. Why? Because film is by nature a collaborative art. If the director wanted to tell his own experience as it truly happened he would’ve written a memoir. A film involves many actors who each have their own interpretations of the characters and events. It also involves an editor who takes the raw footage and shapes it into the film we eventually see, a music/soundtrack supervisor who sets the tone for the film musically, etc. It’s not just one person’s vision.
I think that what this film does is depict a young, long distance, romance in a very realistic way. It would have been fairly easy to “Hollywoodize” this story. You probably would’ve ended up with something similar to Going the Distance. But this film went for a more authentic tone.