November 19th-December 19th 2011 is Rom-Com Season at Kid In The Front Row.
On the one hand, this film is great. It's about falling for someone and waiting for their call and missing them when you break up and dying to be back with them and seeing them again and crying and not crying and running around laughing and kissing and being young and beautiful and for the briefest moment you think this might be a really great film...
...Because they get the tone right between the characters. You remember when you were young and a kiss or a not-kiss or a look or an almost look meant everything? This film is about that and at times it captures it perfectly and you feel eighteen again.
I joked in a recent article that one of the main things a rom-com needs is 'white people'. The point being, of course, that Hollywood is prejudiced and makes films mostly for and about white people. But really, the joke is that white people don't really have any problems. And you soon realise that's what this film is about -- white people who don't have any problems.
Here's the story. Two lovely young people fall in love. But the girl's visa is running out so she has to go back to the UK. But she loves the dude so she over-stays her Visa. Then she goes back home. When she returns to the USA, she gets stopped by passport control, because she violated her Visa on her last visit, so they don't let her through. She cries, and oh no, they can't see each other! So she's flown back to the UK.
So that's the first act. Two people fall in love and then one of them isn't allowed in America because of her Visa (and it's her dumb fault anyway). So she goes home and then for fifteen minutes of the movie the characters are soul searching and breaking up and leaving each other. So it goes bad. But then they talk on the phone. And they miss each other. And he flies out to see her. So it wasn't a big deal after all.
Of course, these young romances aren't a big deal. You're just a kid and you get all loved up and you take things way too seriously. But this film takes itself so seriously. It tries to portray the truth. And y'know, maybe it does, but in doing so - you just have a couple of characters sitting around sharing feelings, being happy, being mopey, and having an average white relationship.
But I can relate. I mean, all of my relationships are average white relationships and they're boring as hell. And the girl in the movie is just like the girls I fell for back in the day and the dialogue is just like the nonsense we used to spout to each other.
The film is too self-aware, too real. There's no mystery, no magic. When you make a film like this you only have the relationship and the things they experience to hold it together. That's why 'Before Sunrise' works. The glue is so strong. That's why 'Once' touched so many people, it was truthful and poignant and artistic. It resonated.
'Like Crazy' will resonate with people who are like the characters, but so many more will think 'what is the big deal?' and 'why can't they get over themselves?' They should have called this film "Everything Is Normal And Quite Average And Occasionally You Might Go A Month Without Seeing Your Boyfriend But Don't Worry It's OK".
The story may have its fair share of schmaltz and cheesiness, but the direction and performances from the cast make this a believable and painful story about young love. It’s also refreshing to see a film that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Nice review.ReplyDelete
Like Crazy just started playing in my city yesterday, so I haven't yet had a chance to see it, but I'm really looking forward to it--even after reading this.ReplyDelete
Funnily enough, your (bitter) review makes me want to see the movie even more. I prefer films that are realistic and gritty to ones that sugar-coat and over-romanticize relationships and life. I think this may be right up my alley.
DAN - I agree, the performances are fantastic.ReplyDelete
TB - My review is bitter? What's bitter about it? I too, love films that are gritty and real, that wasn't my problem with this film -- my problem was that they were essentially uninteresting people with no problems getting all bothered about not much of anything at all!
SKIRTED WORDSMITH - yeahhhhhh :)
Your last sentence led to that "bitter" conclusion, but it feels like you're belittling love in general in the review. Saying that young romances aren't a big deal, and that they should just get over themselves is insulting to those who are going through it.ReplyDelete
I met my husband at 17. We were long-distance for 9 months before finally living in the same city, and each day of those nine months felt like a year.
It sounds like you were annoyed at watching people being tortured by love. Like, you think it shouldn't be such a huge deal if they can't be together, but for people in that situation, nothing is worse.
Considering I've yet to see the film, though, I concede that the characters could just be super-annoying. I'm really only commenting on the review at this point. I'll let you know if my opinion changes after I've seen it.