Movie Review: Like Crazy
By Joshua Pasch
December 5, 2011
Once the visa snafu (transgression really), fates Jacob and Anna to a transcontinental relationship, everything devolves. They are faced with the emptiness of being apart, and over the course of months that bleed into years, with very little time spent together, their love, and the void that it’s left them with, is more burden than buoy. They try to forget each other. They try to see other people. At one point Anna calls Jacob and confesses: this feeling she has, it isn’t going away. You have to wonder, is that feeling still love? Do Anna and Jacob even know what they’re chasing?
Most wonderfully this barrenness is expressed in a scene where Anna watches Jacob from across the aisle on the train on the way to the airport; then, after she drops him off, she watches the empty seat across from her on her return train ride. It isn’t easy to watch. I’ve felt that emptiness before – most people have. Compounding Anna’s and Jacob’s loneliness is this new fear that perhaps they don’t miss each other anymore. Perhaps they’re just plain old lonely. More than anything, they’re confused. We know all of this, without it ever being explicitly discussed between them.
The movie silently forces the question upon us: do we love the one we’re with because that love is true, impossible to replicate, and forever? Or, do we love the one we’re with because that person is the one nearby? If that person weren’t around, would we love someone else? Certainly, in the absence of one another’s company, Jacob and Anna find some appealing substitutes. These substitutes will eventually have to face the harsh realization that neither Jacob nor Anna knows what they want any longer. They don’t even know if they want one another. They don’t even know if they still love each other. But they do need each other. Like crazy, they need to be back together. They need to see if they can reignite that nutcase-desire for one another. In the movie’s final scene they are reunited finally, but it’s impossible to tell if they’ll be happy or not. They aren’t used to one another anymore and you realize, they probably can’t tell yet either. They’re clinging to it, and the ending is just ambiguous enough to find some faint hopefulness there – that is, if you’re still a hopeless romantic by the time you watch this movie.
Let me also say that I recognize that anti-romance films can be difficult to watch. And some of them, I hate. For example, I’m no fan of Sideways. Part of that, I’m certain, is because I can’t relate, even a little bit, to the failed trysts of middle-aged men. That is why some people, perhaps those that haven’t done a long distance relationship, will not take kindly to Like Crazy. That’s to be expected. But the most barbed criticism of Like Crazy is that Jacob can simply move to London (a point that the movie does touch on at one point); this stance contends that the entire conflict of the movie – the visa issues that separate these two characters – doesn’t ring true. I would counter that Jacob’s unwillingness to moving across the world from LA to London is a way of communicating his stalled passion, or perhaps his fear of commitment to a girl he knows he fell in love with, but isn’t positive he still loves. His decision (or lack of decision) to commit to a move is indicative of just how scared and unsure he is to invest every inch of himself into this relationship. It’s just one more means of subtle commentary that Demarus uses to tell his story.