Thursday, December 1, 2011

Film shows love ‘rarely perfect in execution

Critic praises romantic drama’s reality of love

By Michael Campbell, Guest Writer

The topic of love is almost always shown as a black and white affair, but the film Like Crazy focuses on the gray areas of love: its unpredictability and bittersweet reality.

Like Crazy, which was released Oct. 28, is a modern-day romantic drama from the relatively unknown director Drake Doremus. It showed at the Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma. Set in Santa Monica, Cali. and starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones, the movie depicts the love story of two college students.

The film follows Anna (Jones) and Jacob (Yelchin) as they fall for one another. Jacob is a furniture designer and spends his hours sketching chairs. Anna, a British foreign exchange student, decides not to go home after her student visa expires and is deported back to England. The couple decides to stay together and make it work, maintaining a long distance relationship.

Problems begin to emerge.

Like Crazy shows that love, while beautiful and wonderful in thought, is rarely perfect in execution. The real success of this film is that it shows just how much a roller coaster falling in love can be.

One thing that made the film exceptional was the chemistry between Yelchin and Jones. Doremus guided the actors in improvising their lines. According to The New York Times, there was no actual script.

One example where the improvisation works is the scene where Jacob and Anna go to Catalina Island just before she is supposed to fly back to the United Kingdom.

Both actors are visibly distraught and Jacob tries to ease the awkward tension by coyly asking what Anna is doing on Catalina Island. He asks whether she’s a fisher and proceeds to joke that he owns a yacht named The Ahi. This scene, where Jacob tries to lighten the mood by pretending they just met, adds to the sincerity of the film.

This was an absolutely ingenious idea, because it gave a really authentic feel to the film. It’s almost as if the viewer is in the room with the people.

The director’s choice to focus on the 'grayness' of love really benefits the film. While many other films fixate on how great or terrible love can be, Doremus resonated in his examination of love’s bittersweetness. He hones in on the juxtaposition of the good times and the bad and how things can change in an instant. This all-encompassing view of love does an excellent job of mirroring reality.

Like Crazy takes you on an emotional journey from agony to ecstasy and vice versa. Its genuineness, well-acted leads and heart-felt plot make it a journey worth taking.