The emotional honesty of "Like Crazy," which is comparable to Richard Linklater's great "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," is far removed from most of what passes in these goony movie days as youthful romance. To categorize it as a rom-com would only devalue its delicacy. (The only other film this season with a comparable sensitivity is Andrew Haigh's "Weekend," a gay-themed English variation on a similar subject.) "Like Crazy" is comedic only in the sense that it displays the human comedy, junior division, in all its spangly confusions.
Chief among those confusions is Anna's mistake in overstaying her student visa because she can't bear to leave Jacob. Banned from re-entering the United States after a short trip back to England, she and Jacob endure, off and on, over a period of several years, the pangs of breaking up and recombining. Anna, in particular, seems stricken by her love for Jacob. She can't shake her feelings for him.
Doremus captures the deadening aloneness of their separations. It is often in the most crowded of situations, in bars or in clubs surrounded by friends, that Anna and Jacob seem the most alone. They can text each other or call across continents – and they do, often at inopportune moments – but the connection only confirms the absence. When Jacob impulsively flies to London to visit Anna, they both come alive, but the bewilderment remains. Closeness carries its own confusions.
We begin to observe widening hairline fractures in their devotion, and it's a terrible thing to see because Anna and Jacob seem so poetically perfect for each other. The dissolution, if that's what it is, of their love carries a symbolic weight. If these two people can't overcome these trials, then what hope is there for any of us?