Drake Doremus is going to be a big deal. The writer-director of Sundance's big winner this year expertly and - more importantly - realistically tells the story of two university students that fall head-over-heels madly in love.
The other big deals? Rising star Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Charlie Bartlett) and newcomer Felicity Jones. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable, real, gritty, and at times is more than enough to believe in the notion of Yelchin and Jones in a relationship outside the realm of fiction.
The film follows Anna (Jones), a British student abroad, and Jacob (Yelchin) studying at the same university in Los Angeles. The pair begin dating and very quickly become enraptured in each other, in love (like crazy). In a remarkable first half, Doremus almost completely removes dialogue and lets his actors convince the audience of their love in a very organic and believable way. And convince us they do in some of the most affectionate and intimate interactions in film today.
It only makes it harder for them - and us - as summer creeps in and Anna's student visa is set to expire with the semester. With the prospect of a three month separation from Jacob, Anna makes the spontaneous - and rash - decision to stay in California, violating her visa. Eventually, she returns to the UK to see her family only to be denied entry when she attempts to return back to the States. Thus putting a devastating distance between Anna and Jacob in the equally amazing, if not more, second half of the film. Their long distance turns into a tragic game of start and stop. When are you able to let go? And what happens when you do?
Another thing worth noting is the sense of quiet urgency working towards each moment the couple meet again. Doremus's pacing is tremendously effective and the ambiguous passage of time between scenes somehow highlights the patience that Anna and Jacob had lacked and what they then frantically cling to.
No questions or qualms, Like Crazy is an extremely well-made, well-carried film. It is no wonder that it won best drama in Sundance's Grand Jury Prize. It's beautiful to watch, light-hearted, poignant, and at times almost too heartbreaking to bear.
Wise men say only fools rush in...