Friday, 4 November 2011
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead
By Alan Bacchus
Reposted from Sundance 2011
It’s been three days and us writers waiting in line at the P&I screenings are constantly trying to figure out the ’it’ film of the year. It may have just arrived in Drake Doremus’s epic, romantic, bittersweet journey of love.
Anna and Jacob are in love. They meet in the first scene in a college class, follow each other home, hang out, giggle, hold hands, eat, play around, maybe they kiss, maybe they don’t. Either way they are hopelessly in love. Oh what bliss. What could possible separate them? Well, Anna is British and on a school visa, which of course will run out. But she’s a romantic and nothing can stop her from being with her man. So she remains in the US to stay in bed and make love for two months.
She can’t escape reality though, and it comes crashing down when Homeland Security detains her for violating her visa after a brief trip back home to the UK. Now it’s a long distance relationship with the US government separating them. Thus begins the rollercoaster ride of love including the ups and downs of Anna and Jacob – like Going the Distance made by Michael Winterbottom.
After the opening act, Doremus puts his cynical hat on and tests our ability to believe that these two should be together. So are we watching Blue Valentine? Or (500) Days of Summer? Doremus keeps us on edge at all times. Anna flirts with other boys back home, and Jacob does the same with girls, but their iPhones always connect them. Doremus constantly oscillates between these extremes of lovestruck pit-of-your-stomach romance and the agonizing missteps and miscommunications that create roadblocks to finding love. Just when we think they’re splitting up for good, all it takes is a short text across the ocean to jumpstart the rollercoaster ride once again.
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are close to the last word as recent on-screen romantics. Doremus’s frequent close-ups connect the characters like intertwining vines. Whenever they’re in the same space together on screen they seem to engage in a graceful sensual dance.
Pitch perfect hip music complements the new millennium courtship in which these two are engaged, not to mention the Winterbottom/Boyle visual aesthetic employed by Doremus. And so, just as I’m close to shooting myself after having to constantly hear about the authenticity in the highly overrated Blue Valentine, I can latch onto Like Crazy, the superior antidote to that other film.