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Monday
Apr142014

April Showers: Like Crazy

waterworks continue most nights at 11. Here's abstew on Like Crazy

When Like Crazy played at Sundance in 2011, it became an instant hit. It even managed to win both the Grand Jury Prize for Drama and a Special Jury Prize in acting for star Felicity Jones. So it seemed natural that the film would follow in the Oscar-nominated footsteps of fellow Sundance award winners Precious and An Education and translate that success into some Oscar love of its own. If anything, certainly the film would've been the kind of star-is-born breakout for Felicity Jones in the same way Carey Mulligan had experienced 2 years previously. (And discussed recently in another edition of April Showers.) But when it was released in theatres later that year, the love it found in Sundance just never caught on in the same way for audiences or critics. And it seems the only breakout star to come from the film is Jennifer Lawrence in the small part of the other girl. She may not have gotten the man, but I'd said she's doing perfectly fine. [more...]

When I saw the film in the movie theater, my friend had made plans to see a play afterward, but had forgotten to factor in the 20 minutes of previews that precede the film. Right before the last scene (oh, by the way SPOILERS–this entire post is about the last scene of the film) he had to leave. The next time I saw him, he asked what happened at the end. "They take a shower together," I replied. "Are you serious? Well, I guess I didn't miss anything." But in a way he did miss everything because so much of where the relationship between Anna (Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) is headed is up to the interpretation of the viewer. The shower scene needs to be seen to determine what we think their fate will be.

Anna and Jacob meet and fall in love in an LA college. The lovers have the kind of relationship where you bond over your mutual love of Peter Gabriel music and whiskey and spend hours lying in bed together. The only problem is that Anna is British and in the states on a student Visa which expires when she graduates. Rather than waiting the 2 and half months it would take to secure the new required papers, Anna decides to spend the summer with Jacob. Her love for him is too strong to be parted for so long. (This really does feel like such a young love story when 2 months seemed like an unimaginable time to be parted from your boyfriend.) She goes back to the UK for a family event and upon returning finds that she is not allowed back in the US because of violation of her Visa.

The film follows their long distance relationship–late night phone calls, new lovers, quick cross-continent visits to England, fights, tears, and the inevitable solution, marriage. Eventually Anna is granted permission to legally live in the United States. She comes to Jacob's apartment and design studio (which he had just recently shared with his assistant and lover. The warmth of her body still filling the space.) and finds that she's a stranger in his life. Feeling a little lost with no job prospects and not quite sure where she fits in, Anna decides to take a shower to cleanse herself. Jacob joins her.

After some chit chat about the temperature of the shower ("Ah, this feels good". All the dialogue in the film was improvised), the two become silent and embrace as the water washes over them. 

But the sounds of the shower are soon joined by a melancholy music as each of the them reflects on their time together. Anna remembers an early date on go-carts when they were exuberantly happy:

The way he looked at her with such love in his eyes:

Knowing that just being near her was enough to put a smile on his face:

Now we see Jacob's recollections.

As he remembers the first time he spent in Anna's room, when the love was new and exciting:

Knowing that it was enough to just to be next to her:

The playful way she looked at him as she recited her wedding vows:

And the intimacy they experienced on their wedding night:

But was it just looking back at what was? Is there an actual future for the two after what they've been through over the years and were they are now in their lives? 

As Anna pulls away from Jacob, he rubs his eyes perhaps to hide a tear that might have escaped.

And he is left alone in the shower to reflect on his thoughts. As the film cuts to black.

But is this reflective shower the end or the beginning? Was looking at their past a sign that their history is too strong, their love too much to let the relationship die? Water has the redemptive power to cleanse and restore. Was the shower a baptism for the new chapter in their life, living together as husband and wife in the same city, under the same roof? Or was it to wash away the past as they have drifted too far apart to save the relationship? They'll always have their memories and the love that they've shared, but sometimes love just isn't enough to keep you together. Past experiences don't always reflect a bright future. Something Like Crazy, with the eventual fate of the film, knows a little too well.

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Reader Comments (15)

tbh wasn't the buzz surrounding Felicity Jones quite subdued? Yes there was buzz and star-in-making hype, but didn't the majority of the Sundance Buzz go to Elizabeth Olsen?

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJesper L

I normally hate "long thoughts in the shower" scenes, but this one 100% worked for the film. It spoke so much.

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrittani

I love this film so much! You are RIGHT ON about the final scene. It is so important to breaking down the fabric of their relationship and where it stands. This film broke me.

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Looking back, all I remember is that Felicity Jones kept grabbing all of the "Best New" awards from the actress who would become a true breakout: Elizabeth Olsen.

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I had almost forgotten that elizabeth olsen in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE was that same year! felicity may have won that sundance acting award, but lizzie was definitely the one getting more awards traction later in the year. but that breakthrough hasn't exactly fulfilled its promise of things to come either...

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterabstew

abstew - but not really. I remember even Nat at one point, when all the critics' groups awards were coming out, bemoaning (or maybe just surprised by?) the fact that almost all of them chose Jones over Olsen for breakthrough performer of the year-type categories. Olsen ended up being pretty ignored at the end of the year, which is criminal as she was fantastic.

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Lovely write-up, abstew.

I think about this film fairly often because I haaated it so much. I just loathed the characters, which I know is sorta the point, but it still makes it difficult to give two hoots about what happens to them, particularly when they do exactly what others warned them not to do. Like Crazy always makes me wonder: unless the characters fit into the "love to hate" category or have some massively redeeming qualities, is it possible to love a film if you find the characters loathsome or obnoxious?

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Nice piece. I thought that the movie had some issues, but I really liked this scene.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLily

I just remembered that tears came gushing out when I was watching this scene, and it kept going a few minutes after the movie was over, then I started to think about the trailer with Ingrid Michaelson's cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" and cried some more. Man, I was in an emotional place that time haha

Definitely underrated, and almost no notice of Anton Yelchin's very good work here (just like in "The Spectacular Now", everyone takes notice of Woodley but very little mention of Teller)...

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLars

Lars -- such is nearly always the fate of male actors within genres perceived as "feminine". I know it's an exceedingly unpopular opinion but i thought Yelchin was far better in this movie than Jones.

April 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I found this movie shallow for the most part until this very scene. When I saw it, I just got it. Everything they had lived before was so shallow too, so adolescent, to me they showering together was the first time that they really realised they didnt know each other so much and went "fuck".

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

This movie hit close to home for me when it came out. Tremendous performances by the two leads, and that shower scene was just Niagara Falls for me! Great post!

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Nat, that's a very good point. Also, I think the female character (Jones and Woodley) is seen in a more sympathetic light in this genre ("it's usually the guy's fault!!!!!). It seems I'm definitely with you in this minority because I think Yelchin is amazing and he got no notice at all!

However, to defend Jones' and Woodley's character, they seem to be underwritten and more one-dimensional. They tried their best to give more emotional substance to their characters, but there's only so much an actor can do....

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLars

Lucky: I don't find this movie shallow. We've all been through this: we fell madly in love with another person and we tried our darn hardest to be with that person. We struggled through long distance relationships and we grew apart. To me, it seems like "Blue Valentine: college edition".

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLars

Lars: I don't find it shallow either. I just had found their love to be superficial, not based on much more than attraction, and this scene said the movie was aware of this too, and the characters were starting to realise it.

At least in my opinion, that was the point of this scene, and the movie as well.

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

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