Simple and Powerful ‘Like Crazy’ – the Best of Sundance

Sometimes you remember why Sundance can be special. “Like Crazy,” by writer-director Drake Doremus, provided one of those moments

Sometimes you remember why Sundance can be special. “Like Crazy” provided one of those moments when it premiered at the Eccles Theater on Saturday, a film by writer-director Drake Doremus with the simplest of stories, narrowly told, with great emotional impact.

"Like Crazy" stars a soulful Anton Yelchin as Jacob and the diaphanous Felicity Jones as Anna, two lovers who meet and fall in love as students in Los Angeles and are separated by U.S. Immigration policy.

When Anna overstays her visa, she is barred from reentering the country and retreats to London. But the potency of a fierce connection keep drawing them back together, even as the demands of daily life (and immigration bureaucracy) keep them an ocean apart.

The romance is a reminder that certain kinds of love are entirely unique. Even as they  go on with their lives, finding jobs and replacement relationships (including one with Jennifer Lawrence), it’s clear that they are pale stand-ins for what Anna and Jacob have when they are together.

But they are not together. And so time intervenes, and takes its toll. The power of the film comes from the authentic intimacy between Yelchin and Jones. Jones as Anna is especially affecting as a budding writer with a devastatingly direct gaze.

Doremus was at Sundance two years ago with the delightful “Douchebag,” about two Los Angeles brothers – one uncommonly strange – and a love relationship between them.

This is far more serious and, he said in a q&a after Saturday’s screening, based on a real life relationship. But much of the dialogue was ad libbed after weeks of rehearsal.

“The idea was to get an idea of it, and fully find it on set,” he said.

He was asked about the girl who inspired this story. He declined to share.

The film already had offers for distribution by the end of the screening, so expect to see this in theaters this year.