Tonight, during a calm and cool Thursday night, an urge rose up within me to watch a Romance – something that used to be a regular occurrence but something that in recent times had become rather rare – more than this, the urge traversed the broadness of romances, and wanted only one film to quell it’s filmic cravings. That film was ‘Like Crazy’. ‘Like Crazy’ was one of those films that had remained a neglected i-will-eventually-watch-it Netflix hidden gem. Except it wasn’t hidden. I just kept forgetting to watch it. But nevertheless it was to be tonight that my mouse would no longer hover over Netflix’s summary of the film, and instead click the play button, delving into a film I had close to no expectations of and being genuinely and wonderfully surprised by the end. It is a film so sophisticated in its form, so elegant in its delivery and so triumphant in its casting.
Before I delve any further I feel it necessary to point out one of the films greatest assets; the fact that the film was essentially as unscripted as a semi-reality show but sufficiently more tasteful. The primary actors Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones were given the story-line, the background and just everything that encompassed pre-production… bar the actual lines. Everything was improvised based on the actors knowledge of the story, and of their characters which in itself should make you want to go and watch it. It is a concept that with the wrong actors, and the wrong crew could have been a straight up, flat out disaster. But instead of an uncomfortably unprepared film, we are given an exploration into what happens when a close relationship has to deal with something as big as long distances – specifically England and America.
It’s feel good/feel bad/feel glad/feel sad/feel i-don’t-know-how-I-feel-anymore. It’s a journey that just as it was for the actors playing the characters in such a challenging format is intimate and intense and reaches a hand through your screen, pulling you in and refusing to let you go until you see the end credits roll. The lines that come out of the improvisation are just magical, and are, naturally, very realistic. Of course so much credit goes to the actors for being able to create such developed characters through their interpretations, but a huge level of respect has to go to director Drake Doremus for creating such a good level of background details that the actors were able to make such ethereally beautiful creations from. One of my favourite scenes is right at the end, and I wont give anyway details but it is predominantly silence, made up solely on the facial expressions and movements and cinematography and it is a scene that would have been ruined by overwriting. We understood every thought, every emotion, and every doubt simply through the chemistry and conflicting emotions emanating from their eyes.
What’s more is the film is shot so beautifully, and there are so many shot choices that elevate the mood in such an effective way, a great example and motivator considering it was shot on a Canon 7D, a camera primarily meant to be a still camera, and far from the cinema cameras we’re used to in big budget productions. It is always uplifting to see films like this that don’t have the worlds greatest camera behind it but has a solid story-line, fantastic directing, incredible actors and cinematography from John Guleserian that tricks you into thinking you’re watching an oddly crisper version of real life.
So to summarise ‘Like Crazy’ is a film, that on paper purely thinking about it’s narrative content isn’t all that different from a standard romance – ups, downs, middles, sideways except its execution, its format of a semi-script and it’s perfect casting allow it to be a unique fascinating flick that anyone with a love of love, or film, or innovative thinking should adore!