Like Crazy

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Like Crazy
Like Crazy.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Drake Doremus
Produced by
Written by
Music by Dustin O'Halloran
Cinematography John Guleserian
Editing by Jonathan Alberts
Studio Super Crispy Entertainment
Distributed by Paramount Vantage
Release dates
  • January 22, 2011 (2011-01-22) (Sundance)
  • October 28, 2011 (2011-10-28) (USA)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $250,000[1]
Box office $3,542,353[2]

Like Crazy is a 2011 American romantic drama film directed by Drake Doremus and starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, and Alex Kingston. Written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones, the film is about a British exchange student who falls in love with an American student, only to be separated from him when she's denied re-entry into the United States after overstaying her student visa. The film, which featured fully improvised dialogue, won the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.[3][4]


Anna Gardner (Felicity Jones), a British exchange student attending college in Los Angeles, meets and falls in love with Jacob Helm (Anton Yelchin), an American fellow student who returns her affections. After graduation, Anna decides to spend the summer with Jacob rather than return to England, unaware of the consequences of overstaying her student visa, which expired at graduation. After returning to London for a family engagement, Anna flies back to Los Angeles, where she is detained, denied entry, and sent back to England by immigration officials for overstaying her original visa.

The couple's passionate love for each other grows strained by the separation and long-distance relationship. Despite her efforts at appealing the immigration decision, Anna is told she is banned from entering the United States. Meanwhile, Jacob leaves behind his successful design business and visits Anna in London for a few weeks. There he learns that Anna's parents have hired an immigration lawyer to try to get the ban lifted. Anna's father suggests that marrying may help their efforts. Jacob is uncomfortable with the suggestion, and the couple struggle with their feelings.

After Jacob returns to the United States, he and Anna grow apart, and soon Jacob begins a relationship with his colleague, Samantha (Jennifer Lawrence). Anna also tries to find a new life for herself, but she is unable to abandon her feelings of love for Jacob. Eventually she phones him from London and tells him they will never find in others what they've found in each other, and that it is right that they marry. Soon after, Jacob breaks up with Samantha and returns to London and marries Anna in a small registry office ceremony with her parents as witnesses—both affirming that they will "never allow anything to destroy the feelings we share for each other". With a tearful parting, Jacob returns to his business in Los Angeles while they wait six months before they appeal the ban on Anna's visa.

Six months later, Jacob flies back to England for the appeal, but they are unsuccessful yet again. With their relationship compromised and no hope of resolving the visa issue, they begin to fight with each other in jealousy and frustration. Jacob leaves England, and soon they are seeing other people. Anna eventually gets promoted at work to the position of editor—something she wanted very much. Her love life, however, is not as positive or fulfilling—her new boyfriend Simon simply does not evoke the same feelings in her as Jacob, whom she still misses.

Sometime later, Anna finally receives her visa. She gives up her job, her current boyfriend, and her apartment and flies to Los Angeles to Jacob, who greets her with flowers at the airport. Their reunion is strained and awkward at first, after being apart for so long. Jacob joins Anna in the shower, and as the water falls over them, they remember scenes from their early life together.



Like Crazy has been described as loosely inspired by the real-life experiences of director Drake Doremus, and in an interview with his ex-wife Desiree Pappenscheller, who was born in Austria, she claims that the film is a reenactment of Doremus and Pappenscheller's romantic and marital history including her United States immigration problems.[5][6]


The film was shot with the inexpensive Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera, and its budget did not exceed $250,000.[1] Produced by Crispy Films, the film was acquired by Paramount Vantage and production company Indian Paintbrush as a joint venture. It was released in the United States on October 28, 2011.[7]

Yelchin and Jones were cast into the main roles. Prior to filming they met in a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles to get to know one another.[7] Jones told Steven Zeitchik from the Los Angeles Times that "I remember thinking, 'I just hope he's a good guy'". The pair then attended a rehearsal session before shooting the film, which was done without a script.[7]


The ending of the film can be interpreted in a few ways. In the last scene they embrace each other, but clearly the sparks have gone out of their relationship. Anna steps out of the shower, leaving Jacob to look after her sadly. Their embrace, however, is not one of remorse, but one that represents their continued love for each other. The flashbacks suggest that each realizes how singular and important the other is to their well being. Jacob's last expression is not one of lost hope, but one of regret—the regret that he did not put more effort into his relationship with Anna.[citation needed]


Like Crazy has a 73% "certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus states "It has the schmaltzy trappings of many romantic films, but Like Crazy allows its characters to express themselves beyond dialogue, crafting a true, intimate study."[8] The film was The Christian Science Monitor's third best film of 2011.[9]

Upon the film's January 2012 release in the UK, Philip French described it as "likable, lightweight, bittersweet" and a "less knowingly smart, less entertaining conflation of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, stretched out over four or five years."[10] According to Robbie Collin, "Like Crazy is a well-acted and obviously heartfelt film, and at times it's also a wispily beautiful one. Unfortunately, any attempt to appreciate its not insignificant charms is hindered by an overpowering desire to grab the main characters by the shoulders and give them a good shake....Doremus has clearly fallen head over heels for the techniques of the French New Wave, but it’s less of a romance than an infatuation. He mimics the handheld camerawork and improvised dialogue of Godard’s Breathless et al—except, 50 years on, those techniques have a very different effect, perversely making the film feel more premeditated, less immediate."[11]


  1. ^ a b Lyttelton, Oliver (October 26, 2011). "Drake Doremus Says He Shot 'Like Crazy' For $250,000 On A $1,500 Still Camera". IndieWire. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  2. ^ Like Crazy at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Jay A. Fernandez; Daniel Miller (January 29, 2011). "Sundance: 2011 Festival Award Winners". Hollywood Reporter blog "Risky Business". Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  4. ^ "Felicity Jones: rising star". The Daily Telegraph. July 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  5. ^ Garrison, Cassandra (October 4, 2011). "‘Like Crazy’: Based on a true story?". Metro. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  6. ^ Carrillo, Sarah (August 30, 2004). "Student's visa leaves her stuck in Austria". Graphic. Pepperdine University. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  7. ^ a b c Zeitchik, Steven (October 23, 2011). "A 'crazy' little thing called love". Los Angeles Times. (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ Like Crazy at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ Rainer, Peter (December 21, 2011). "10 best movies of 2011 – 'Like Crazy'". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  10. ^ French, Philip (28 January 2012). "Like Crazy – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  11. ^ Collin, Robbie (27 January 2012). "Like Crazy, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Winter's Bone
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
Succeeded by
Beasts of the Southern Wild