Like Crazy: Young Love in the Age of Skype

Anna (Felicity Jones) is an aspiring journalist, a wee wisp of a girl come from Britain to study in Los Angeles, where she meets cute with Jacob (Anton Yelchin), a local boy learning furniture design. Like Crazy follows Anna and Jacob’s whirlwind romance, then their subsequent breakups and makeups, staged on both sides of the pond, as they’re kept apart by diverging career paths, Anna’s recurring visa problems, and intervening relationships of convenience. (Playing the second-string love interests are Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley, in a well-turned small part as an oblivious, ardent yuppie.) Director Drake Doremus distills Anna and Jacob’s story into fleeting moments and nonverbal cues—trans-Atlantic texting on hesitantly fondled iPhones, uncertain glances, introspective lulls, and charmless improvisations—caught by a handheld camera that’s forever blunderingly announcing its presence. The idea is to show love in incidentals rather than big scenes, but the fragments selected do not build to any significance—this is a rote story, arbitrarily scattered into abstraction. Neither lover, as embodied by Jones’ and Yelchin’s aggressively average, “naturalistic” performances, is particularly interesting, either alone or together; moreover, the duo is incapable of generating erotic friction. Laid on a bed of treacly piano music, this l’amour fou is l’amour tepid.