Film Review: Like Crazy

Given the cast I think that it is amazing that it took research for a potential Blog post for me to realise the Like Crazy even exists. Quite how this movie managed to stay hidden in the shadows for so long will remain a mystery. Written and directed by Drake Doremus, it is a small, low budget transatlantic love story staring Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence. And with that cast, it’s surprisingly masked existence is illustrated perfectly.

And that cast list also longs to suggests that this is a potential hidden classic. A little gem, forgotten in the back catalogue of Hollywood’s rising stars waiting to be discovered. But sadly, you’d be wrong. Like Crazy was created three years ago, but feels and looks far more dated and far, far younger. A problem highlighted, rather than hidden, by the cast.

Felicity Jones - Like Crazy

Felicity Jones fails to look even remotely close to her actual age. She was in her late twenties when Like Crazy was shot, and yet I spent the entire film thinking she was about 17. Her actions and mannerisms backing this up. While Yelchin, who is American playing an American, constantly gets shadowed by his Russian roots, manages to never present a single clue as to how many candles he actually last blew out. He’s just confusing, and together I found it off putting and destructive. I was never quite sure of the time frame of the film or the seriousness of the plot. Without knowing clearly how old the characters are I was never able to feel comfortable understanding ow they fit into the world they live in either.

But that’s not my biggest problem with the cast in the film. Oh no. That is saved for the fact that there is absolutely no chemistry between them. They don’t even look like that have the potential to be friends, let alone long term lovers. And it doesn’t matter how the story goes, how the characters interact, I just sat there thinking “you’d have all walked away from this by now”. I just didn’t believe the story was being honest. It just doesn’t feel real.

And I think that’s the issue at the heart of the film. Trust. Because I don’t . The story is essentially biographical, being based on an actual past relationship of director Drake Doremus, and it therefore feels like vanity film making. It feels like a project created by somebody too close to the story, too invested and too frightened by his emotions. There is a real sense that the story you are being told is the protective memories stuck in his head rather than the true emotional tale buried deep inside.

Canon 7D Digital SLR - Like Crazy

The story feels like it wants to look at life in too perfect, too rounded a way. It doesn’t want to hurt anybody. And that comes over in the film, you feel like you’re being cheated. They politely ask when you know in reality that screamed and shouted. We’re given the good but never the bad.

There is, however, a rough charm to the film. I think that comes from the way it has been produced. The reason I came to discover it’s existence is that it has been shot entirely on a consumer grade Canon EOS 7D digital SLR camera rather than traditional cinematic cameras and you can tell. The finished effect producing a mottled, down toned image that feels inviting and reflective. While the characters may be false, their story appears like windows in which static events are played out through motion. It feels like you’re flicking through old photographs, rekindling the memories as you view them. And it draws you to the piece but doesn’t get inside you.

But that sense of reliving, of remembering, is also a problem. Because I’m not reliving my memories. And because I don’t trust the source, or believe in the characters, I became removed, descending further and further away from the story, and while not physically withdrawn from their potential tale, I was certainly mentally bored and emotionally cold from it.

Piano Playing Soundtrack - Like Crazy

The film does try and create some warmth though through the use of a piano lead score that chimes in with power and gusto from time to time. But it feels low and cheap. It adds another layer and dimension to the film, but never has the roundness it truly needs. I almost felt that I wanted the score to reflect the characters, to portray the music of their relationship. The songs that bound them together rather than an orchestral gesture that felt lacklustre and inferior.

I think I know now why a film with a cast as futureproofingly impressive as this has failed to gain any reputation or name, and that is because it never engages with you. It never wins you over. It never feels real. Like Crazy has left so many questions unanswered in my head, mainly starting “but surely…?” that it’s never going to be destined for greatness, because ultimately it committed the greatest sin of any relationship. It wasn’t honest with what it wanted.

5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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