An understated, if jaunty look at a relationship over three years often trumps a graceless brevity gaining momentum from a listen to Paul Simon's "Graceland" album.
Like Crazy is an impressionistic, amorphous drama and may seem like a younger sibling to the Ryan Gosling/Michelle Williams starer "Blue Valentine" or a cross between that and the winsome 500 Days of Summer. It resonates much more than a mainstream Going The Distance or even the ambitious and recent One Day (which also paired an American - Anne Hathaway with a Brit - Jim Sturgess).
Co-scenarist and helmer Drake Doremus handles the ups-and-downs of collegiates like Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) who meet while studying in Los Angeles with aplomb; he's a teaching assistant for the attractive British student in journalism class. There's not a typical meet-cute as a charming first date is preceded by a sweet note left for Jacob on his ride. She'll become a magazine writer and he'll be into designing furniture.
The dialogue may not be as crisp as the rapport that Yelchin and Jones demonstrate with troubles along the way when Anna accidentally overextends her visa to be with Jacob over the summer. A gentleness and vulnerability is expressed with subtlety and nuance by actors who are obviously given a naturalistic comfort zone by a filmmaker whose unorthodox cinematic schemes (with time-lapse lensing and overhead framing) and attention to the ordinary have considerable impact.
The title comes from what is carved into a wooden chair for Anna, and some may experience the adverse effects of the plot's central conflict of the practicality of a long-distance. Eventually, though Jacob will head across the pond for an important visit that has them less upbeat when considering their future prospects. This, after both have gotten on with their careers and have been seeing other people.
Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) and Alex Kingston (remembered a while back opposite Clive Owen in Croupier) make the most out of thinly drawn smaller roles as a close colleague of Jacob and Anna's mum, respectively. Like Crazy has its share of symbolism and at times seems fey like the ethos of the primary covalent bond, but it's hard not to have adoration for the way Doremus through the oomph offered by the fine turns of Jones and Yelchin makes the wistfulness of togetherness lasting.