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Rav chimes in on Grand Jury Prize-winner LIKE CRAZY! Sundance 2011!

Published at: Jan. 31, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST by AICNStaff

Like Crazy is a charming little film charting the relationship of a young british girl named Anna (Felicity Jones) who meets and falls for an American (Anton Yelchin) while attending college in Los Angeles.   Everything seems to be going wonderful for them, they can't get enough of each other.    Time goes by so fast, eventually Anna's student visa expires, necessitating a visit back home to her family.   They count down the days till she has to go with so much dread and despair, on a whim she decides to delay going home by  a week .  After six long weeks she travels back to see him, unfortunately once she reaches customs they won't let her back in to the country which throws the wrench into the relationship that is the focus of the film.    

 Much like Blue Valentine last year this is a film that unfolds over a long period of time examining the full weight of the relationship over years.   Yelchin does not want to move to London as he has a burgeoning career in L.A., but should he just give that up for her? Should they simply split up? Should they get married?  Will that fix the visa issue? 

Although I and several other film bloggers are comparing it to Blue Valentine, it is nowhere near as bleak or gut-wrenchingly sad.   The relationship has a hell of a lot of pitfalls coming to it, but no one's about to get drunk and rape the other in a spaceship motel room.  500 Days of Summer is probably the better comparison, others probably are not leaping to that comparison because Like Crazy lacks a crazy animated dance scene and voiceover.

I've never disliked Anton Yelchin in a film before, but I'm far from being a fan of his.  I remembered his blips in the Star Trek trailer leaving me very wary about seeing the finished product, however that film one me over in the end.   I think Like Crazy is his best work yet, however the major breakthrough of this film is his love played by Felicity Jones.  She was good in Cemetery Junction and the Tempest, but in this film she's just enchanting.  Honestly I couldn't even make a frame of reference that it was the same girl from those films, she gives a performance in this film that is so amazing that I will never forget again.   It also doesn't hurt that she's friggen drop dead gorgeous, it's not hard to buy that Yelchin would find himself absolutely smitten with her.  

I'm such a sucker for a good young love film, and this did not disappoint.   It is really easy to fall in love with both characters and you really want to root for the best for them.   I really liked that the thing keeping them apart in this film was the immigration issues.  It's nice to watch a romantic film and have both of the characters literally willing to do anything for each other yet real life trouble intervenes keeping them seperated and not some hollywood love triangle nonsense.

Having missed the last couple years of Sundance, I find myself unfamiliar with the works of Drake Doremus.   Apparently this is his third straight year with a feature at the festival, as soon as I get home I am going to try and look up his others.  If they are anything like this I can't wait to check them out.   It really is not much of a surprise that Paramount picked this up in one of the biggest deals of the fest, I imagine that it will be a big hit for them.  I even tried to watch it again later at the fest and wound up not being able to in the last second due to heavy demand.   I can't wait for this to come out to share it with my friends, it really was one of my favorites of the fest.  

To top everything off in between me starting this review and finishing it, Like Crazy was awarded this year's grand jury prize.  So...yeah, like i was saying...it's awesome! 

Rav

Ravkill@msn.com

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