At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival I saw a film called Douchebag from director Drake Doremus. I have somehow not noticed that another film I just saw at this year’s festival is also from Doremus. I loved both of them for very different reasons. In Douchebag I loved the relationship between the Brothers Nussbaum because it was so natural and felt almost too real at times. Now, with Like Crazy, comes a film about the age-old boy-finds-girl-loses-girl-finds-girl-again scenario that just may be one of the most honest portrayals of young love Paramount Pictures has ever paid for.
While neither Douchebag, nor any of the rest of Doremus’ films (Spooner, Moonpie), have received proper distribution (Moonpie is available on DVD and Spooner will be released on March 15), if it weren’t for the appropriately titled Douchebag (one of the brothers most definitely is) it, too, could definitely find an audience all its own. Now with Like Crazy, it seems maybe the studios have found more confidence in Doremus’ naturalistic approach to directing and his mostly improvised dialogue, which is probably why I find his films to be so realistic.
In Like Crazy, we find American Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and British Anna (Felicity Jones) meeting-cute while she’s delivering a speech in class. After not being able to take their eyes off each other in class, she leaves a note on his windshield along with a disclaimer that he not think she’s a total nutcase. They go out for coffee and kick start a whirlwind romance of romantic proportions.
Eventually, we learn that she’s here with a student visa and must return home for the summer. Neither of them thinks they can bare this burden and she decides to stay until she has to return home for a wedding. Barely able to keep apart, Anna returns to the States only to find herself banned from entering after violating her student visa. Now she must return to England and let the long distance relationship pitfalls commence.
It’s a good thing this film has its cast and director. It also doesn’t hurt that so many of the scenes were improvised – proving just how good its cast really is. Aside from Yelchin and the mesmerizing Jones, Ben York Jones returns for a third outing with director Doremus and last year’s Sundance fave; Winter’s Bone’s Jennifer Lawrence (just nominated for Best Actress by the Academy) even pops up as a girlfriend-of-convenience for Jacob when he’s not trying to make things work with Anna. Also, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead give hilarious performances as Anna’s parents and Charlie Bewley as Anna’s new boyfriend brings a new brand of awkwardly priggish to the table.
Like Crazy will screen on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden and on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Egyptian Theater in Park City.
Photos courtesy Paramount Pictures