Filmed on a Canon 7D camera for a quarter of a million dollars, Like Crazy portrays the difficulties of a long-distance relationship that must navigate through political bureaucracy and the constant threat infidelity. Dependent on each spectator’s own sensibilities, the film is perfect exploration of the trials and tribulations of love split between the Atlantic ocean.
On the last day of class, Anna (Felicity Jones) finally has the courage to leave a love letter on Jacob’s (Anton Yelchin) windshield. Without hesitation, Jacob calls her and the two begin an instant relationship. He builds her a chair and she introduces him to whiskey, but the two share an admiration of Paul Simon, specifically Graceland. Anna’s student visa is about to expire, but instead of returning to her country within the specified time, she decides to stay. Months later, she finally returns to London to visit her family, but when she attempts to return to Los Angeles to be with Jacob, her previous visa violation prevents the two from reuniting.
Long distance relationships are always tricky, and Like Crazy portrays the difficulty of navigating through life without your significant other readily available. Once the two are separated, their professional lives progress opposite of their romantic lives. Anna starts as an assistant at a magazine publication and climbs the ladder of the company, meanwhile, Jacob’s furniture design business is gaining a reputation. Anna carries the relationship throughout the film, including making initial contact and suggesting the course of their future together, but she is also responsible for burden by making the ultimate mistake. Jacob has an aloof deposition throughout the film, going with the pace and making the best of all situations, except when jealousy arises.
Anna’s mistake of remaining in the United States well past her visa—a slight mistake she argues—creates a political nightmare for the two. They make an agreement to see other people when it is uncertain when Anna could return, allowing Jacob to take up a romantic interest in his assistant (Jennifer Lawrence). The issue of infidelity grows incessantly just as their battle to obtain a visa clearance becomes desperate.
Like Crazy uses handheld camerawork and the actors have improvised most of their scenes. Overall, these devices do work well together. The handheld camerawork continues the egregious trend of a shaky visual that is irritating but does convey a sense of urgency. Combined with the improvised dialogue, the characters have sincerity that carries the film. Even with these devices, the film does have an uncanny artificiality to it since the plot’s progress becomes increasingly predictable. The film’s use of transitional montages also shows an antiquated visual language that does not separate the predictable nature of the film.
The individual spectator’s life experience have always determined their worldview, but also their connection to certain films. This is certainly true concerning Like Crazy. The attachment to this film will be a personal one. For those who have had long-distance relationships will understand and sympathize, while those who have a more rational thought process will find the film banal. It does not remove the exploration of the difficulty of being a part for so long can have on a relationship. The film ends with a poignant scene that puts the uncertainty of their relationship hanging in the spectator’s mind, almost as if Like Crazy never ends. It takes from New Hollywood staples such as The Graduate and even Five Easy Pieces where the uncertainty of the main characters hangs in the balance after the final cut to black.