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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Like Crazy

This is what happens in the film, Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus:

A young British woman is a student in Los Angeles. She's a really nice person and wears really cool clothes! She's quite quirky, but quirky in the way that Zooey Deschanel is quirky in 500 Days of Summer; she's much kinder than Zooey. She's really good at writing. She's just so lovely! She's called Anna. Her parents brought her up really well.

There's a guy in Anna's class called Jacob whose major is furniture design. He's rugged, but not macho because he's sensitive too. Anna just can't stop looking at him so she leaves a love note on his car. She looks really pretty when she does this because of the Los Angeles sunshine. The fact that Anna makes the first move means that this is a piece of Modern Film about a Modern Woman.

Jacob really loves Anna's note and they go on a date. Their date seems really realistic because it's pretty much improvised which makes you think that there's chemistry between them and that the film is good. The things they have in common are that they are both only children, their favourite album is Graceland by Paul Simon and they're both in the film Like Crazy. They really heart each other. They heart each other so much that there's a montage about it. Jacob makes Anna a beautiful wooden chair which you just know is going to be important later on!

But Anna's student visa is about to expire. Sad. There's heart ache and eye contact and conversations in bed and Anna overstays her visa and stays in LA for a couple more months before going back to London where her amazing, supportive, proud, still-totally-in-love-after-all-these-years, rich parents live.

After a week, Anna returns to LA to see Jacob but the people at border control won't let her through because she overstayed the last time she was there. The camera work and the acting in this scene make you realise what it must be like to be an asylum seeker. Poor Anna! She can't have her holiday! And poor Jacob too, don't forget. He hearts Anna Like Crazy.

It's really, like, sad because Anna and Jacob decide to just be friends and get on with their lives; Anna gets a hair cut, a job at a magazine and some new clothes that are more grown up than the ones she wore at college. She also gets a really beautiful one-bedroom flat with amazing lighting and expensive looking belongings. Jacob starts his own furniture making business and lives in a really trendy space. Well done, Anna and Jacob! You're both doing really well even though the person you heart like crazy is living thousands of miles away!

But then, one night, Anna gets a call from Jacob and at first it's really awkward but then it's just like old times and Jacob says he's coming to visit. And he brings the chair with him! The chair he made for Anna! They spend some time living Anna's life in London but it makes Jacob feel weird and like an outsider even though all the people in Anna's life are super lovely, the soundtrack is great and Anna smiles at him a lot. Anna's male neighbour (who you just know is going to be important later on) turns up at Anna's flat with a toasted sandwich maker that he borrowed. Jacob doesn't like it.

They go and see Anna's parents and after a few too many Laiphroaigs, Anna's understanding, trusting, sensitive, all-round-good-egg dad asks them why they don't just get married. This makes Jacob think. But the camera is really clever because you're not sure if Jacob's thinking in a good way or in a bad way.

Before Jacob goes back to LA, he and Anna have a talk about The Future and they agree that it's OK if they see other people. They have the talk in a beautiful park in the late afternoon sun and they both look really young and natural. They're so nice! Even though they might be slags!

Time passes and Jacob starts to see woman in LA called Sam. Even though you find out almost nothing about her, you're supposed to think she's a bitch. Anna's doing really well at her job at the magazine but she's obviously been thinking about what her dad said because she calls Jacob and tells him that she thinks they should Go For It and get married. Jacob breaks up with Sam - he does it really nicely because he's such a great guy - and goes to London to marry Anna. All they have to do now is wait for six months and then Anna can go and live with Jacob in LA.

But, oh no! Remember when Anna overstayed in the USA when her visa expired? America hasn't forgotten and the people at the Embassy in London say that there's nothing they can do. Jacob and Anna get angry and then go to Camden for a look round the market. They have a really tasteful argument about when to have dinner and then they go home.

At home, Jacob is texting Sam who tells him that she misses him and Anna sees the text! They have a really attractive row and Jacob tells Anna that he'd RATHERFUCKINGBEINAMERICA and Anna storms out. It's really harrowing and realistic. They're in the kitchen and everything. and when Anna storms out she leaves the cooking on.

Next thing you know, Anna is shacked up with the sandwich maker man and Jacob is back together with Sam. Anna's new boyfriend calls her darlin' even though he's really posh. And he buys her a new chair. It's upholstered. You just know he's not right for her. The soundtrack tells you he's not.

Anna gets an amazing promotion at her job and, as a way of saying well done, the new boyfriend invites her parents over for dinner so that he can propose to Anna in front of them. It's really awkward but Anna and her parents are very dignified about it all because they're such beautiful people. And, earlier that very same day, Anna received a call from her lawyer to tell her that her visa application has been granted. Dilemma!

Because Anna's so brave and rich, she packs up her things and gets on a plane to LA and she and Jacob pick up where they left off. They have a shower together but it's just not the same as it was before and Anna looks really beautiful and sad.

These kinds of films confuse us because they're vacuous in a way that isn't obvious. We might think we like Like Crazy because of the way it looks and because it made us cry. It thinks it's a real love story because of the improvised script and the cinematography and because it just about doesn't end happily. But, underneath the beautiful camera work, the semi-improvised performances, the fresh soundtrack and the quirky couple, this film is totally self-obsessed; it doesn't give its audience anything apart from maybe a sense of injustice that we can't afford to live in a flat as nice as Anna's even though we probably earn more money than she does.

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