'Like Crazy' – This Year's 'Blue Valentine,' Purchased By Paramount [Sundance Review]

When Park City, Utah woke up Saturday morning, no one was talking about Like Crazy. By the time the day ended, it was all anyone was talking about. From Drake Doremus, the director of Douchebag, Like Crazy tells the story of a long distance relationship between an American furniture designer named Jacob (Star Trek's Anton Yelchin) and a British writer named Anna (Cemetery Junction's Felicity Jones in a long deserved star making performance). We see how they meet, some courting, the one seemingly minor decision that screws up everything and the long, painful, but often joyful, aftermath. The film subtly gives its audience so much to digest emotionally, that you'll be thinking about it long after you leave the theater.

Paramount picked the film up for $4 million on Sunday so you'll get to see it soon. But, before that, read our review.

Like Crazy's gritty, guerrilla style is the audience's first clue that they're seeing something unique. The second is its narrative spark. Most romances – say, for example Knocked Up – use pregnancy to set the story in motion. They dramatize an in the moment decision during sex where your whole life can change in a blink. Like Crazy does something different, though. After the pair graduate college, it's Anna's decision to ignore her student visa and spend the summer in America that sets the stage for years of ups and downs. Once discovered, she's deported and banned from the United States.

Doremus keeps the film interesting by introducing other intriguing conflicts in the way of this meant-to-be relationship too. Jacob and Anna are not only forced to be a world apart, they grow to be a world apart and, inevitably, things happen. But when the stars align and the two reunite,  it's like no time has passed.

That passage of time is pretty important to Like Crazy as well. Whenever a significant amount of time passes, it's portrayed in a different way: a few seconds of black, a montage of jump cuts, time lapse or, sometimes, just a single edit. In doing this, Doremus keeps his audience on their toes about the emotional state of the characters, letting both Yelchin and Jones win us over with their performances. Both do such a good job, in fact, that the film becomes difficult to watch when they're not together. Everything in the film is done in such a relatable way that it's devastating to see them apart, even if Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) does play a small, lovely role.

Like Crazy will mean different things to different people. It might evoke a greater appreciation for what you have, a deep desire for something you don't have, or even bring up pings of regret for past mistakes. But no matter what, it will make you feel something and that's much more than most movies that are released today.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10