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
Edited by Jonathan Alberts
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
Box office $3,542,353

Like Crazy is a 2011 American romantic drama film directed by Drake Doremus and starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence. Written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones, the film is about Anna (Jones), a British exchange student who falls in love with an American student, Jacob (Yelchin), only to be separated from him when she is denied re-entry into the United States after overstaying her student visa.

Doremus based the storyline of the film partly on his own long-distance relationship with a woman living in London while he lived in Los Angeles. Rather than writing a traditional screenplay, he and Ben York Jones compiled a 50-page outline of the film from which the actors improvised almost all of the dialogue. Filming took place over four weeks in Los Angeles and London with a budget of US$250,000.

Like Crazy premiered on January 22, 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the festival's Grand Jury Prize. It was released in theaters on October 28, 2011 and grossed over $3,500,000. Most reviews of the film were positive, with reviewers giving particular praise to Jones and Yelchin's performances, although some found the plot unrealistic and contrived.


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 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 their 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 for Jacob. Eventually she phones him from London and tells him they will never find in others what they have found in each other, and that they should marry. Soon after, Jacob breaks up with Samantha, 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 out of 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 (Charlie Bewley) 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 time together.



Anton Yelchin was Drake Doremus's first choice for the role of Jacob.
Felicity Jones was cast after shooting rough versions of several scenes from the film.


Drake Doremus was inspired to make Like Crazy by the ending of his eight-year long-distance relationship with Desiree Pappenscheller, who lived in London while Doremus lived in Los Angeles. Many elements of the film resemble their real-life relationship, such as their frequent travelling between Los Angeles and London, Pappenscheller's trouble with American immigration laws, their brief marriage, a trip to Santa Catalina Island, and a bracelet given to Pappenscheller by Doremus.[1][2] The story was co-written by Ben York Jones, who had also been involved in long-distance relationships.[3] Together, they assembled a 50-page outline of the film which read more like a short story than a traditional screenplay.[4] The outline included backstory, plot points, specific scene objectives, themes and emotional beats, but had minimal dialogue.[4][5]

Anton Yelchin was Doremus's first choice to play Jacob, based on Yelchin's previous work, and was cast almost immediately after meeting Doremus to discuss the role.[6] After auditioning a number of actresses from Los Angeles and London to play Anna, Doremus talked to English actress Felicity Jones over the phone and asked her to tape rough versions of two scenes from the film.[6] He was so impressed with her rendition of the film's final scene—wherein Anna and Jacob stand silently in the shower together—that he decided to cast her.[2] After Jones arrived in Los Angeles, she and Yelchin began an intensive week-long rehearsal before filming would begin.[2] Yelchin and Jones met in a Mexican restaurant to get to know one another and, during the week prior to shooting, spent "all day and often all night" discussing Anna and Jacob's relationship with each other and Doremus.[7]


Like Crazy was filmed over four weeks, the first three in Los Angeles and the last week in London.[2] The production budget was $250,000, which included the cost of airfares for the cast and crew.[8] The film was shot on a Canon EOS 7D still camera with cinema lenses, mounted on a rig constructed by cinematographer John Guleserian.[8] He chose the 7D for its portability and the ease it provided for shooting improvised scenes, where he found other cameras too cumbersome.[9] Guleserian said that many of the film's scenes were shot "really far away from our characters [followed by] really tight close ups" due to the technological limitations of the camera, but he noted that this added to the tone of the film.[9]

Only a small number of crew members were employed to maintain the sense of intimacy that Doremus wanted on set. At its largest, the crew consisted of around 20 people, while some scenes were shot with as few as three crew members, such as a scene on a Santa Monica beach where only Doremus, Guleserian and "a sound guy" were present.[8] Doremus would often ask members of the crew to leave when filming intimate scenes between Jones and Yelchin so that the two actors would feel more comfortable. These scenes would be shot in improvised takes of up to 30 minutes in length, with Doremus providing only occasional direction.[7] The film's dialogue was almost entirely improvised by the actors, whose lines Doremus believed would come about "by virtue of being fully involved in the character and the moment".[2]


The film's original score was composed by pianist Dustin O'Halloran. Other music used in the film includes songs by Paul Simon, M83, Stars, The Mary Onettes and Figurine.[10] Doremus listened to several of these artists as he developed the story, whose songs he says "became the fabric of the film".[6] He assembled a similar set of songs on a CD which he gave to the cast and crew to listen to throughout production.[8]

An official soundtrack was released on CD and in digital format in conjunction with the film's release. The track listing is as follows:[10]

  1. "Arrivals n2" – Dustin O'Halloran
  2. "Crazy Love, Vol. II" – Paul Simon
  3. "We Float" – Dustin O'Halloran
  4. "Departures n1" – Dustin O'Halloran
  5. "Century" – The Mary Onettes
  6. "Fragile N.4" – Dustin O'Halloran
  7. "Impossible" – Figurine
  8. "Surprise Hotel" – Fool's Gold
  9. "I Guess I'm Floating" – M83
  10. "We Move Lightly" – Dustin O'Halloran
  11. "Opus 37" – Dustin O'Halloran
  12. "Dead Hearts" – Stars
  13. "Thursday" – Asobi Seksu (bonus track)
  14. "Closing Scene" – The Radio Dept. (bonus track)


Like Crazy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2011, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. During the festival, the film's distribution rights were acquired by Paramount Vantage for $4 million.[11]

The film was given a limited release in theaters on October 28, 2011. It earned $123,140 on its opening weekend with a per-theater average of $30,785 from four theaters.[12] Its widest release was 162 theaters, and it closed on January 12, 2012 after playing for 11 weeks, earning $3,395,391 in total at the domestic box office.[12] Internationally, it grossed $146,962, making a worldwide total gross of $3,542,353.[12]


Reviews for Like Crazy have been favorable. Like Crazy has a 73% "certified fresh" rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 146 reviews; 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."[13] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 71 based on 37 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]

In a review for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern described Like Crazy as a "wise and beautiful little film", giving particular praise to Guleserian's cinematography and Yelchin and Jones's improvised performances.[15] David Edelstein of New York magazine claimed that Like Crazy was "the most infectious love story in decades", comparing its "wonderfully sane" perspective to other romance films and romantic comedies.[16] Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the film an A– grade and praised Doremus, Jones and Yelchin's storytelling ability in creating "a palpably real, universally identifiable manifestation of young love in all its ecstasy and agony".[17] In a review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, writing that "Drake Doremus has crafted a crazily inventive and totally irresistible tale of first love that makes the familiar seem bittersweet and heart-stoppingly new". He described Jones as "a marvel" and Yelchin as "outstanding".[18] Time magazine's Mary Pols commended the film's ambiguous ending and wrote, "Like Crazy is a cinematic love potion and you leave it feeling bewitched."[19] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, praising Jones and Yelchin's performances and the "intelligent, graceful indie style" of the film, although he found the storyline somewhat unrealistic.[20] Indiewire's Eric Kohn gave the film a B+ grade and felt that while the plot developed slowly, Yelchin and Jones shared "an indelible and entirely realistic chemistry".[21] Variety film critic Andrew Barker, who described the film as "an exquisite, beautifully acted gem", gave particular praise to the film's "dexterous editing", given that it "contains nary an extraneous detail, while still managing to luxuriate in the tender and awkward silences of young love".[22]

A more negative review of the film came from Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, who found it "a conventional, wan affair, despite its art-cinema flourishes" and thought that Anna's inability to obtain a visa was a contrived plot point that conflicted with Doremus's attempt at creating realism.[23] The Globe and Mail's Rick Groen also found Like Crazy unrealistic, giving the film 2 out of 4 stars and writing that "nothing feels more false than a failed attempt at getting real".[24] Writing for Salon, Andrew O'Hehir opined that the film was uninteresting, unmemorable, and "sickly sweet".[25] Nick Pinkerton of The Village Voice found Jones and Yelchin's performances "aggressively average" and described the film as "a rote story, arbitrarily scattered into abstraction".[26]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result
Casting Society of America[27] October 29, 2012 Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Low Budget Feature – Comedy or Drama Eyde Belasco Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association[28] December 19, 2011 Most Promising Filmmaker Drake Doremus Nominated
Empire Awards[29] March 25, 2012 Best Female Newcomer Felicity Jones Won
Golden Trailer Awards[30] May 31, 2012 Theatrical Trailers – Best Romance Paramount Pictures
Ignition Creative
Gotham Awards[31] November 28, 2011 Best Breakthrough Actor Felicity Jones Won
Hamptons International Film Festival[32] October 16, 2011 Breakthrough Performer Anton Yelchin Won
Hollywood Film Festival[33] October 24, 2011 Hollywood Spotlight Award Won
New Hollywood Award Felicity Jones Won
MTV Movie Awards[34] June 3, 2012 Best Song from a Movie Figurine – "IMpossible" Nominated
National Board of Review[35] December 1, 2011 Best Breakthrough Performance
(tied with Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Felicity Jones Won
Sundance Film Festival[36] January 29, 2011 Grand Jury Prize – Dramatic Won
Special Jury Prize – Dramatic Felicity Jones Won


  1. ^ Garrison, Cassandra (October 4, 2011). "‘Like Crazy’: Based on a true story?". Metro New York. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Lyttelton, Oliver (October 26, 2011). "LFF '11: Drake Doremus Says He Shot 'Like Crazy' For $250,000 On A $1,500 Still Camera". Indiewire. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (October 28, 2014). "'Like Crazy': Drake Doremus Talks Improvising A Failing Romance". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Film-making without a script". The Economist. January 27, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ Wise, Damon (January 28, 2012). "Drake Doremus: it took great care to make Like Crazy look so natural". The Guardian. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Cwelich, Lorraine. "Drake Doremus' Mode and Method". Interview. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Zeitchik, Steven (October 23, 2011). "A 'Crazy' little thing called love". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d Weinstein, Joshua L. (December 2, 2011). "Drake Doremus ‘Like Crazy’ Method: Instead of a Script, Actors Got Mix Tapes". The Wrap. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Case Study: Like Crazy - Shot on the Canon EOS 7D". Definition Magazine. March 29, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Jagernauth, Kevin (October 26, 2011). "'Like Crazy' Soundtrack Features Paul Simon, M83, Stars & More". Indiewire. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (January 16, 2013). "Sundance 2013: 'Like Crazy' Producer Jonathan Schwartz on How to Master the Indie Game". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "Like Crazy". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Like Crazy (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Like Crazy". Metacritic. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (October 28, 2011). "'Like Crazy': From Cupid's Blunders, Wonders". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ Edelstein, David (October 24, 2011). "‘Crazy’ Good". New York. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  17. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (November 2, 2011). "Like Crazy (2011)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ Travers, Peter (October 27, 2011). "Like Crazy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ Pols, May (October 27, 2011). "Gaga in Love With Like Crazy". Time. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Like Crazy". November 2, 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ Kohn, Eric (January 27, 2011). "A Familiar Sundance Romance in "Like Crazy"". Indiewire. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ Barker, Andrew (January 22, 2011). "Review: ‘Like Crazy’". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  23. ^ Dargis, Manohla (October 27, 2011). "In This Tale of Modern Love, a Visa Stands in the Way of Desire". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ Groen, Rick (November 4, 2011). "Like Crazy: True romance, this ain't". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (October 28, 2011). "“Like Crazy”: Fresh young love, served slightly sticky". Salon. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ Pinkerton, Nick (October 26, 2011). "Like Crazy". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Complete list of 2012 Artios Winners". Casting Society of America. November 7, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  28. ^ "2011 24th Chicago Film Critics Awards". Chicago Film Critics Association. 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Best Female Newcomer". Empire. 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  30. ^ Arbeiter, Michael (June 1, 2012). "'Dark Knight Rises' and 'Snow White' Win Golden Trailer Awards!". Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Felicity Jones, Tom Rothman Win at Gotham Awards". The Wall Street Journal. November 29, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  32. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (September 22, 2011). "Hamptons Fest Sets ‘The Artist’ As Closing-Night Film, ‘Like Crazy’ As Centerpiece". Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Hollywood Film Festival Honors Carey Mulligan, Berenice Bejo, Jean Dujardin, Elle Fanning, Amber Heard, Andrea Riseborough, Shailene Woodley, and Anton Yelchin". PR Newswire. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  34. ^ "2012 MTV Movie Awards". MTV. 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  35. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (December 2, 2011). "Felicity Jones at the Gothams and Other Pics From the Week". Indiewire. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  36. ^ Child, Ben (February 1, 2011). "Like Crazy wins best film at Sundance". The Guardian. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]

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