Like Crazy Review
It is said that Like Crazy had a budget around $250,000. That is a very cheap budget by today's film standards. This is not meant to be a sleight against the film as the style used on this cheap budget gives it a very realistic feel to the film. The problem with this film is that it does not use this realistic style effectively. It too often heads into melodramatic territory, a style of storytelling that completely goes against the atmosphere the film is aiming for.
It is weird to see that Drake Doremus both directed and wrote the film (although Ben York Jones co-wrote the screenplay with him) as the two goals that these two jobs are trying to accomplish seem to be antagonistic with each other (realism vs. melodrama). You would think that a director who also writes his film would be able to create a film where the script and directorial style work with each other. Not so here. Separately, however, the directing and script are pretty effective. The directing effectively creates an authentic style. Doremus effectively captures the subtleties of both the characters and their story. The screenplay also does a great job of allowing the actors to form the characters while still containing some interesting choices (such as the ambiguous ending).
The film's biggest asset though is the cast. Felicity Jones has a breakout performance as Anna. She makes it easy to see why someone would want to invest heavily in a relationship with her and makes her vulnerability so realistic. Anton Yelchin is the perfect complinet to Jones. He is subtle but in an expert way as he lets Jones' much more interesting character take command of the screen. This has been an impressive year for Yelchin as he was also great in The Beaver (in a completely different role).
Beyond that the supporting cast is very uninteresting. Chris Messina (who was one of the standouts of this past season of Damages) is completely wasted. The writing for Jennifer Lawrence meanwhile is borderline offensive. She just shows up with no introduction and then becomes an important part of the plot. Even then she is just treated as a plot point as no one bothers giving any dimension to her character. Then she disappears from the film as quickly as she appeared.
Like Crazy has many elements that anyone will see involve some real artistic ability (such as the performances from the leads), but the film is never able to find out what it wants to be. What results is a film with a disingenuous tone that turns me off from the film so much that I don't even care about an interesting choice of an ending.
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