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Like Crazy

Year: 2011
Production Co: Paramount Vantage
Director: Drake Doremus
Writer: Drake Doremus
Cast: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence

This movie has such a distant, dispassionate approach to what's going on I had a hard time connecting with Anna (Jones) and Jacob's (Yelchin) plight. It's almost too coldly clinical in its realism.

But it slowly edged its way under my skin until the point where it struck me straight in the heart. It's where Jacob's telling sometime lover Sam (Lawrence) that he's choosing Anna over her as gently as he can manage. Sam's cradled in his arms in silence and all we see is a single tear spill down her cheek. It's agonising to watch and might even prompt one from you too.

So as you might have guessed, it's a love story. One where distance, doubt and other people can crowd true love out of our hearts – just like real life. While studying in the US, Brit Anna asks Jacob out and the pair slowly fall in love. The sequence of their falling for each other is actually the least believable part of the story (while no less beautiful), which might have contributed to my feeling like it was too distant to grab me. Their courtship is a little too chaste and twee than you'd expect from two modern twentysomethings.

But the time inevitably comes when Anna has to return home. Unable to bear leaving Jacob, she overstays her visa, so the next time she tries to return to visit, US customs won't let her in.

The more obvious it becomes that the pair can't be together, the more they try to forget each other, embarking on affairs with other people to try to block their feelings out but never succeeding. By the time they finally do manage to be in the same country the history each has accumulated alone might be too much for them to bear.

For a long time I thought the film was depicting Jacob as the bad guy. While Anna's single and telling him she loves him he's seeing Sam and lying to her about it. But it's not that kind of film, and it deals with the vagaries of the human heart in our (very big and crowded) world with realism and sensitivity.

Jones is raw, honest and lovely, Yelchin is quietly sincere and Lawrence is natural and luminous. By the time it's over you'll be ready to cry along with everyone involved.

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