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Long-distance relationships are hard. Long-term relationships are hard. Young relationships are hard. Put them all together, and you get something that has very little chance of having a good, happily ever after outcome. It certainly starts out like a fairytale. There's a girl (Felicity Jones), who cannot stop staring at the boy (Anton Yelchin) in her class. After what must be months of secret adoration, she decides to confess her love to him, with a letter that she leaves on the wind-shield of his car. The boy finds this mildly charming, flattering, and is touched, too. The two meet, share an awkward encounter of many blank silences and uncomfortable laughs. But there is a real, convincing spark there. Which is why date after date, the pair grows closer together, and is virtually inseparable. So far so good: almost too good to be true. There is one slight problem: Anna (Jones) is an English exchange student staying in the United States with her soon-to-be expired student visa. On the day she is supposed to leave the country, she makes the rash decision of violating the conditions of her visa and stays for two more months, so she can spend all the summer time in the world with her new boyfriend Jacob (Yelchin). Seems like a good idea at first, for both of them, and they have a great time without doubting for a second that this risky move might jeopardise everything they have. It's only when, after a brief visit to England, she tries to return and is subsequently denied permission to enter the States. She broke the rules, a very clear set of rules, and is now being punished because of it. Romeo and Juliet were pulled apart by feuding families, and it seems these two are held apart by immigration officers. There are no appeals and certainly no exceptions: so off to England she goes, leaving him devastated. Life must go on though, and the couple to their best to sustain their relationship. Whatever passion and love they once shared are no more, as the unhelpful feeling of frustration kicks in. Working as a carpenter, Jacob has a co-worker, Samantha (Jennifer Lawrence), who attempts to steal his heart, whereas Anna finds herself being seduced by the tall, handsome neighbour Simon (Charlie Bewley) who is led to believe that she's single. Relationships need work and constant attention. When you're thousands of miles apart, this become challenging, They're young, they're healthy, and it almost seems silly to be tied down. What "Like Crazy" is not afraid to do is to face some of the ugliness of its difficulties. When they're tempted, they're only human, and it's only natural for them to act on their impulses. Although not a lot is explained when it comes to the initial attraction these two youngsters share, once they are together, Yelchin and Jones certainly share a sweet, lovable enough chemistry to show that they are a committed couple, and it's easy to root for these unfortunate individuals. The girl was thoughtless and acting foolishly to overstay her visa, and so the powers that be do have every reason to bar her from the country. It's an unlucky sequence of events, not something she may have completely deserved per se, but also an outcome she cannot easily refute. As the two "destined" lovers are torn apart, and as the two quality leads start feeling the pain, they succeed in gaining sympathy from the audience. Not willing to go down without a fight, they search for solutions, and the easiest one seems to be if Jacob travelled to England and the two got married. But it's a big, sudden step, with both of them not too sure on whether their relationship has already reached that level. It's not as if they've spent a whole lot of time together - but in order to give this dying love another chance, they both know this must be done; and with support from Anna's parents, the two do indeed get married - nothing lavish, but a small, modest ceremony in a courthouse. But bureaucracy being what it is, there is still considerable wait that comes with legalising documents - everything takes time, and they're about to experience even more delays and kinks in what was supposed to be a smooth process. Here is a film that is in touch reality. It does not cheat, nor does it use sudden, rushed musical interludes somehow fast-forward their troubles. It makes sure to take multiples aspects into account when carefully examining their unique situation. Most dialogue here was improvised, and the remarkably talented lead pair covers a lot of ground, both the beautiful, colourful ups and ugly, nosy downs. Their young naiveté and silly hasty decision-making skills may irritate older, more mature members of the audience, but they're mistakes and choices that could easily be made by those blinded by love. Sounds corny, but that's life - and the natural performances from the leads will most certainly have you believe their honest, earnest intentions. There are many slow, lingering shots (a common, go-to technique among indie films), that do considerably slow down the pace in several scenes, but the positive aspect that results from those is that the two actors get the chance to flourish and show off their talents with more screen time. Throughout it makes the wise decision of never promising an uplifting ending, and the ambiguous conclusion does frustratingly leave things hanging - but in a way this in itself is a lesson and a more realistic portrayal of things to come. The two have many issues to work out, and this is true whether they're in the same country or not. Marriage hardly changes anything; it rather complicates the situation even more. It's quite the depressing thought, but the breath of fresh air this provides in its balanced, direct depiction of young love, no matter how maddening to watch with its many pitfalls and traps, is a rare, thought-provoking, most likely debate-provoking viewing experience with a young cast that has the gift of exceptional improvisation.
Forced to entertain a French exchange student for the weekend I racked my brains trying to think of anything I could do that wouldn't involve much talking. Then it hit me. The cinema. The perfect place to hide in the dark with the perfect excuse to avoid conversation. There aren't many films out at the moment which are light hearted a jovial and then best thing I could find with a plot line that wasn't too complex for my exchange and I was 'Like Crazy'. I had assumed that this film was a light hearted chick flick, but I was wrong. I was surprised to find that Like Crazy is actually quite an emotional romantic drama. The story follows two college students, Jacob and Anna, who fall in love, but face a seemingly insurmountable problem as Anna is actually a British student studying on an American Visa. When the time comes for Anna to return to the UK, she decides that she cannot bear to part with Jacob and so she violates the terms of her Visa rendering it impossible for her to re-enter the US. This is a truly heart-breaking love story of two young people desperate to stay together despite the miles and miles of ocean between them. Actors Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin are two absolutely brilliant actors who are perfectly suited for their roles. Whilst the plot is quite simple and there's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, the intense chemistry between this pair makes it hard for the watcher to look away and most certainly tugs your heartstrings. Both the young actors deliver realistic performances that truly draw you in as this is real drama. This is a major step up for Felicity Jones as the last movie I saw her in was 'Chalet Girl', which is literally the complete opposite to 'Like Crazy'. I would expect both actors to be much in demand after two absolutely stunning performances in this new film. This isn't a silly romance, but an accurate portrayal of the difficulties faced by lovers - the good, and the bad. Even though the couple in question are so young, they face real life dramas faced by couples of all ages and director Drake Doremus successful draws the audience into the story by making us believe that it is real. This film really took me by surprise and much exceeded any expectations that I had. This is much watch for any couples going through hard times and is a kick up the backside for anyone who gave up love because it was 'just too hard'. IN SELECTED CINEMAS NOW.