A far better film than the plot outline suggests, 'Like Crazy' is so accurately observed it will clearly resonate with anyone who has suffered the ups and downs of young love. Making use of a tight edit it breezes through Anna and Jacob's relationship, with its petty fights, drunken calls and euphoric moments. The film's success rests squarely on Jones and Yelchin with both the young actors delivering expertly subtle, natural performances with every look and delivery feeling genuine. This is even more impressive considering it's wholly improvised, with the actors only working from a plot outline – and it is this approach which turns what could easily have been a twee sentimental indie flick into a much darker emotive experience that truly feels like watching the unravelling of a real relationship. Right down to the smallest mannerisms, the couple feel thoroughly believable – one scene of Anna and Jacob in a London pub particularly stands out for its authenticity. If they'd been working from a script it's hard to imagine the film having the same energy and intensity that director Drake Doremus has developed here.
The performances are great, but thanks to an impressively restrained edit, 'Like Crazy' is still completely accessible and thoroughly engrossing. Not wasting a single frame, it cuts directly from one human drama to the next without meandering around between them to fill in the gaps. Youth is fleeting, and that is demonstrated clearly here as it rattles through scenes that often feel like snatches of memory rather than a single cohesive narrative – with only the most idyllic or bitter moments recalled by Anna and Jacob. This is a truly intelligent, surprising film that marries the look of an indie teen romance with the theme of soulmates and everlasting love - before adding the cruel complexities, embarrassment and intense suffering that doubtless strike all young lovers.