Ben Hopkins

A compendium of words by Ben.

Like Crazy

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From the current issue of Clash.

The romantic drama is as hackneyed as film genres come, yet this low-budget debut from Drake Doremus claims a contradictory unusual aspect given its increasingly common subject matter. British student Anna (Felicity Jones) falls in love with Los Angeles resident Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and marks the end of her studies by overstaying her visa – an error that casts an ominous shadow over their blossoming long-distance relationship.

To say Like Crazy is flawed is an understatement. The characters are barely developed under the oppressive misery of visa issues, situations often descend into visual cliché (particularly a now you see him, now you don’t shot after leaving Heathrow) and a Los Angeles club scene possesses all the authenticity of a low-rent beer commercial. Yet what it does succeed in holds far more value; the naturalistic, improvised dialogue and two devastating, lovelorn performances create a palpable empathy that far transcends the film’s weaknesses.

With constant ambiguity, stylishly framed photography and unconventional pacing (the film shoots through a tale spanning several years with the use of surprisingly tender montages and sudden unheralded leaps in time), this is an atypically intelligent contemporary romance. Nowhere is this better realised than in the film’s final moments.

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Written by Ben Hopkins

February 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

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