When it comes to cinematic romance, it seems we are relegated to either insipid studio created romcoms that offer little in terms of genuine emotion, or Nicholas Sparks sap-fests. It's rare that one comes along that actually feels genuine and has characters whose emotion rings true. An example of one that got it right is (500) Days of Summer (a favorite of mine); now we have Like Crazy, and it is a good candidate to join the ranks of successful movie romances.
Like Crazy is a good movie and features an involving relationship at its core. The thing is, while watching the story unfold, I did not immediately believe its reality. It seemed to be full of cinematic contrivances used to get the characters where they needed to be rather than allowing a natural progression of their characters. It was like my ability to suspend disbelief failed, keeping me at arm's length and expecting another unbelievable cinematic romance.
I think my initial problems stem from the fact I have never experienced anything similar. Fortunately, my life is not a barometer for cinematic realism. Realistic movies would be really boring and never actually feel realistic if they used my life as a measuring stick. The idea of rating a movie romance against your own life points to why romantic films are so hard to make. Unlike a genre like horror or science fiction, romantic movies work on emotions that hit closer to home and require a higher degree of believability. Like Crazy successfully worked on my defenses, eventually wearing them down and allowing me to see the reality that was right in front of me.
Like Crazy tells the story of Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones), college seniors. Jacob wants to design furniture and Anna, a London native, wants to be a writer. One day, after spotting him in class, she leaves a note on his car. He reads it and calls her. They meet, date, and fall for each other, hard.
It doesn't take long before problems begin. The problems begin when Anna overstays her student visa. She does eventually go home, but when she returns to the States, she learns the violation of her student visa has caused her to be banned from United States. This puts a big damper on their relationship as their love finds an ocean between them. As you know, long distance relationships are not easy; it takes more than love and even then there are limits to what people will do. This distance tests their ability to deal with each other and the strength of their relationship.