I watched Like Crazy for the first time last week. It’s a 2011 film by Drake Doremus starting Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance that year. I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen it before, it wasn’t really on my radar. And it’s also not available on Netflix or Prime streaming and I only just re-started my Netflix disc subscription, which is where I got it from. So I went into the movie without much in the way of expectations. I decided to watch it after getting home from drinking at a bar with some friends. It was after midnight but I figured that was no big deal. About halfway in I was liking it, but also realizing I was too tired and out-of-it to follow everything, so I went to bed to finish it in the morning. For the record, this is something I really hate doing. I think movies were meant to be watched in one sitting and I really don’t like breaking it up over days.
In the morning, I picked up where I left off and continued watching. At this point I was really getting into the movie, but realizing that I was missing a bit of nuance from the night before. When the movie finally ended I was so blown away as well as knowing I missed a few things, that I made a fresh cup of coffee then sat back down and watched the whole movie again, beginning to end. Or rather, I sat for a while listening to the fantastic song “Dead Hearts” by Stars during the closing credits, then just sat on the couch thinking, pondering and reflecting on what I’d just seen. There might have been a bit of eye-drying needed as well. Then I went and made coffee and watched it again.
I don’t want to say too much about the film in terms of spoiling anything. But I thought it was a truly lovely film. Beautiful and painful. It had something to say about love, life, and relationships and did so fantastically well. It’s the best romantic film I’ve seen in a while and one of my new all time favorites. I felt like it made a true impact on me, which is rare in cinema and ultimately what I most look for in films.
Just a few days prior I watched Roman Holiday for the first time. That’s a great movie that was a real pleasure to watch. It was also fascinating to see Like Crazy just a couple of days later and really see the difference and evolution of what a good romantic film is over half a century later.
I’m now a big fan of Drake Doremus’ work. He has a new film coming out in 2015, Equals, which is now on a short list of movies I’m most looking forward to this year. And I’ve also now watched his 2013 film, Breathe In, which is available on Netflix streaming. It was also good and thought-provoking. It left me thoughtful and introspective but didn’t blow me away the way Like Crazy did. I’d also recommend his web short The Beauty Inside. It’s about thirty minutes long and someone compiled the series on vimeo here.
If you haven’t seen Like Crazy, I recommend it. And I’d also be curious to hear what others think about the movie. It really spoke to me. I thought the handling of dialogue and passage of time were quite well done and let the focus be in the right places. I went in not knowing what to expect, but it ended up being one of the most memorable movies I’ve seen. I would describe the film in three words: lovely, beautiful, painful.