By Staff Writer Emily Johnson
1 hr 30 mins
Attention twentysomething ladies out there: Watch this film. Cry your
eyeballs out. And for goodness sake, whatever you do, do not fall in
love while studying abroad and overstay your visa.
In order to fully explain my experience with this movie, let me set the scene:
It’s a Friday night and I’ve had a long week at the office. I’ve seen
Like Crazy several times at the video store and although I’ve begged
like crazy (see what I did there?) for my boyfriend to watch this
movie with me, he has an inherent aversion to any film involving a
romantic plot line. So when 6 pm on this particular Friday rolls
around and he is out of town, I’m thrilled to finally be able to curl
up on the couch with a glass of wine for what I expect to be a pretty
standard romantic comedy. I’m excited because it has that cute girl
from the Hunger Games in it and this guy I saw once on an episode of
Criminal Minds. I have a bunch of thank you notes to write and plan to
do some online shopping. What I didn’t expect was to spend the next 90
minutes blubbering like an idiot at the TV screen (while also secretly
wishing I had an adorable British accent).
Without giving too much away, here’s what you need to know about the
plot of the film: Anna is a British student studying abroad in L.A.
She’s that kind of outgoing, intelligent and quirky girl that I find
myself wanting to hate but dangit I can’t cause she’s just so
precious. Jacob is American, builds cute furniture, and is that kind
of adorable that most men hate being described as but me and my
friends would go crazy for. He reminded me of a less overtly sexy
Joseph Gordon Levitt (circa 500 Days of Summer) mixed with a bit of
Michael Cera (only with more of a backbone). They fall in love and
everything is going great, until the semester ends and Anna’s visa is
about to expire. She makes the fateful decision to overstay her visa
(NEVER DO THIS) until the end of the summer, which means that after a
quick trip home to London she isn’t allowed back into the country. The
rest of the film follows their attempts to make their long-distance
relationship work while navigating the bureaucratic nightmare of U.S.
immigration services and, unless you have a black hole where your
heart is supposed to be, a lot of tears from both sides of the screen.
Now I’m that girl that always cries during movies, so maybe everyone
won’t have the same experience as me. But from the opening of this
film until the credits rolled I was 100% invested in the lives of
these characters. I think that is by far the greatest strength of this
movie: that for an hour and a half I felt completely immersed in Anna
and Jacob’s love story. The film has a gritty, almost low-budget
documentary feel to it which I don’t usually like, but I think really
grounds this film in reality in a way that a lot of romance movies
don’t. Their courtship, while possessing some of the fairy tale
qualities necessary for any movie relationship, is remarkably
ordinary. Anna and Jacob are flawed and their relationship is far from
perfect. It’s refreshing to watch a film where I can really root for
the two main characters because they could be me. Nicholas Sparks is
great and all, but let’s be real here. Ryan Gosling isn’t building me
a house any time soon. But as a recent college grad who has seen
first-hand the pain of long distance relationships, this film hit very
close to home.
Jacob and Anna are the heart and soul of this movie- the few other
characters you meet serve only to supplement their storyline and,
while well-acted, are in the end forgettable. The only exception to
that was Jennifer Lawrence, who I never find any reason to complain
about and always love watching on screen. I think most women watching
this movie will really identify with Jennifer’s character who, in an
ideal world should be Jacob’s perfect match, but just can’t compete
with Anna’s ever-present shadow. Haven’t we all been there?
My only complaint about this movie was the ending, but I don’t want to
ruin it with my opinion so I’ll leave that to you to decide for
yourself. Ladies, definitely rent this movie for an excellent girl’s
night. Bring tissues and chocolate. Fellas, if you want to earn some
points with your girlfriends, watch this movie and then bask in your
her affection afterwards as she realizes yes, you are on the couch
next to them and no, you will not get deported any time soon. You’ll
be able to fulfill your chick flick quota for a few months at least
with this one.
Overall: great writing, relatable characters, questionable ending but
an excellent film that I would highly recommend.
8.5 out of 10