Like Crazy is a love letter to long distance relationships, a more realistic version of Going the Distance for a slightly younger crowd. Show me this movie a year ago, and I guarantee I wouldn't have connected with it as much as I did now, and that's because I'm going through something similar in my own life. This movie is deeply personal: if you've ever had an intense relationship torn apart by distance, it's impossible not to relate to it; if you've never experienced something like that, it will likely leave you cynical and put off.
The performances in this movie were incredible across the board. If you've seen Charlie Bartlett or Alpha Dog (basically anything outside of Abrams' Star Trek or McG's Terminator Salvation), you'll know Anton Yelchin is a gifted young actor capable of much more than franchise material. Here, he's quiet, reserved, smitten, and empathetic; as the film progresses and the situation becomes more complicated, he runs the gamut of emotion and effectively hits every mark. Felicity Jones has been lounging in a lot of TV work in her career, but this is a star-making turn for her. Her astounding beauty complements her charming performance, but never overshadows it. Her character wears her emotions on her sleeve, and Jones is totally believable in every facet of this film. Keep your eyes on her: she's going to be huge. And Sundance 2010 favorite Jennifer Lawrence (who may well earn a Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards for her performance in Winter's Bone) was solid in a small supporting role.
My only problem was with the ending, which I obviously won't get into here for fear of spoiling the movie. Aside from this small issue, this movie connected with me on a personal level and I'm not going to try to separate myself from that connection to judge it objectively. Every time we step into a theater, we each bring our own experiences with us and they color our perception of every film we see; this one happened to catch me at the right time in my life to establish that connection. The movie almost doesn't seem concerned with those who haven't experienced this type of romance, and I admire the brazen attitude it takes to make a film that may alienate a huge segment of the audience. But that alienation from some will surely be traded for fervent support from others upon the movie's public release. (Paramount just purchased it for $4 million, so expect it in theaters later this year.)
In my eyes, Like Crazy is the perfect Sundance movie. It's pure in its emotions and technically proficient in translating them to the big screen. The cinematography was gorgeous, the score was moving, and the writing was spectacular. The editing was impressive as well: a scene near the end in which flashes of memories are interspersed with the couple as they interact in real time hit especially close to home for me. From all accounts, this is a massive tonal shift from director Drake Doremus' previous film, Douchebag (which I haven't seen), but this movie cements him as a director to look out for in the future. Keep an eye on release dates for this one, folks - Like Crazy is a film you won't want to miss.