Last night after sitting through a play about relationships, I watched a movie about relationships! (Guess what the book I’m reading is about?) It was really good though.
Like Crazy is a movie about a girl and a boy who meet in college, fall in lust/love/like/something- date, then because she’s from England have to navigate their relationship over distance. In the summer she decides FUCK CUSTOMS and overstays her student visa by a couple of months. This turns out to be a mistake because later when she tries to come to America more permanently they won’t let her through. So they -Anna and Jacob- (very The Notebook meets Twilight) sort of break up and get back together lots and have emotional phone conversations- who by the way was their carrier? Because they were making international calls left and right and I studied abroad- I know about the real world.
Their romance is very cute- they have that sort of clever teasing thing going on that resonates with people my age who have been to college/say they like to read. Anna and Jacob meet in a class where he is maybe the TA (?) I was hung up on the power dynamic for a while, (research is mesearch!) but they soon were on a level playing field. They manage to convey the characteristic relationship building without making the inside jokes seem cliched or heavy handed. Usually in movies about relationships, in the courting period something funny will happen, let’s say with an orange. Then they’ll make no mention of oranges for the next hour and a half. Then at the end of the movie when some crisis of love has come between them, like the fast-pace magazine she works for gave her a promotion and she needs to move to another country for example, he will come knocking on her door and or walk behind the park bench she’s sitting on (contemplating her life) and give her an orange. Then they’ll smile and embrace and the movie will be over. The power of citrus prevails yet again! It’s very device-y. This wasn’t like that. They had cute things that weren’t introduced just to be used later, and they kept having new things, which is true to life I would say.
This movie doesn’t treat its audience like they’re stupid which is more than I can say for most movies. It relies on the audience to make jumps and conclusions without feeling the need to explain everything, and trusting they’ll get it. This movie is also very conscience of what it wants to focus on, omitting the depiction of plot points just for comprehension’s sake. For example, often if there’s a time when they have to be apart, it will just skip to when they’re back together- and not go through the motions of a montage of both characters mooning about and waiting until they’re reunited. It feels more real to the relationship in this way, you only get to judge them when they’re together and fill in what happened in the time apart by reading how their dynamic changes- which is exactly how it feels when you’re in a long distance relationship. You’re not playing it out for some third party who can relish all the dramatic irony and subtleties- it’s two just two people. And that’s what it felt like.
I guess I should have started out saying who plays the characters but what the heck. Anna is played by Felicity Jones, who I was told right before watching this movie is the new face of Dior (it’s actually Dolce and Gabbana) so when I was watching the movie I kept seeing their romance unfolding in the soft light of a perfume ad. Felicity Jones is very beautiful, but in a striking way- she has very pointed features and big teeth that kind of stick out in the front. She has a clear, bright face and bedroom eyes. Her counterpart, Jacob, played by Anton Yelchin has boyish good looks and a relaxed confidence about him. They are very attractive, but they are beautiful in a very normal way and it added to the authenticity that their beauty came more in flashes (especially Jones) rather than a constant barrage (Angelina Jolie. When she talks, I can’t even hear what she’s saying, I think she’s so pretty).
Anna’s parents played by Alex Kingston (FROM ER!!!) and Oliver Muirhead were PERFECT. They were real and funny and protecting and perfect. They were everything Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci were trying to be in Easy A.
Basically this movie was like looking into a mirror. A beautiful, sad, mirror. There was a real human connection that because of circumstance and life suffered. So there was the inevitable relationship CPR from both sides but ultimately when something’s dying, it’s dying. Not to give away the ending, because this movie is relatively new (2011- and I would never want to do that to anyone) I will simply say that the last scene is so perfect and beautiful and sad it makes me want to hug everything. And it’s in a shower. I know what you’re thinking, how could anyone stage the emotional climax of their movie in a shower after Psycho, who do they think they are? But trust me it works. It actually has a lot of echos of Blue Valentine but without the emotional hollowing that comes with that one. With no negative intentions, I would say that this movie is Blue Valentine lite and I mean that the best way possible.