Anna and Jacob meet in college in Los Angeles, and rather quickly move from mutual attraction to love to symbiosis to codependency. When Anna overstays her visa and then goes to a family function back in England, she finds she will not be permitted to re-enter the US, which puts the lovebirds in a pretty difficult position. Throughout the film, they must attempt to learn to be apart, all while dealing with all the other parts of adulthood. There is a heartbreak and a glorious memory for everyone who has ever loved in here.
Technically, I loved this film. It's slow paced but well edited, and the cinematography is beautiful and thought out to the smallest detail. The cast is great (River Song! Charlie Bartlett! Katniss!), and the two lead actors do a particularly good job at capturing and holding the viewer's attention.
Like Crazy is the purest snapshot of that first, horrible, gorgeous, all-encompassing love experience. Unfortunately, I found the ending unnecessarily jarring, because it was so very real. Most people watch a film to get away from their own life to a certain extent, and there was no stretch here- nothing to take the viewer away from themselves. Instead, I felt as though I'd been left hanging at the end of a friend's involved story. If I watch it again, I'll make sure and turn it off 4 minutes before the "end."
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, is about a little boy named Oskar who has lost his father in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. A year after that traumatic event, Oskar begins going through his father's things and finds a mysterious key. Overcome with curiousity and missing the reconnaissance missions his father used to send him on, Oskar sets out on an adventure, taking months and travelling all over New York City in search of whatever the key may unlock.
This story is beautifully heartbreaking. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are wonderful as Oskar's outgoing, amiable father and his mother, struggling but so strong. Zoe Caldwell, Max von Sydow, John Goodman, Viola Davis, and many more vibrant actors populate this world of family members and friends and strangers and pieces of the puzzle. But, most of all, Thomas Horn in the lead role is astounding. His portrayal of this grieving child, who is also almost certainly on the autism spectrum, is so exquisite, so detailed, so evolved, that I have trouble even after finishing the film thinking of him as anyone but Oskar Schell.
Fantastic work by Stephen Daldry (who also directed Billy Elliot and The Hours), the extensive cast, and what must be a great crew, who pulled off an entertaining film where you'll actually laugh and cry, and who never once make you feel like you're watching a Lifetime special. Bravo.
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