Somehow, I know not why, every time the year rolls round and 14th February looms ominously into view, lo and behold I find myself single. While this is something of a drag when my various friends are gushing about which restaurants their boyfriends are taking them to, and what new piece of heart-shaped jewellery they hope to acquire, it does mean that I'm spared the agony of watching the traditional Valentine's Day romcom. You would have to drag me screaming and kicking to watch this year's offering of 'The Vow', starring Channing Tatum as resident hottie (otherwise known as the-man-who-has-no-neck). Don't even get me started on the Love Actually-style absolute carcrash that was 'Valentine's Day' with oooooh Taylor Swift doing acting! And Ashton Kutcher working in a florist! How romantic!
The sort of film I like to see, when it comes to love and the comedy of romance, is a film that doesn't try to buy into the Hollywood 'love and life and everything has to be alright by the time the credits roll'. Which is where 'Like Crazy' comes in. A short description of the plot is: Anna, a British girl, and Jacob have a relationship while Anna is a student at uni in the States. She overstays her visa, goes home for one week, then is barred from reentering the US. They try to make their relationship work and overcome the ban, to the extent that they marry so that Anna can obtain a marriage visa. When even this fails, they return to their respective jobs and form new relationships. When Anna's visa finally comes through and she returns to LA to be with Jacob, their lives no longer match, even though their feelings remain.
Reasons why I like this film:
The dialogue is improvised, so everything is suitably real and awkward, especially their date ('this cup is bigger than my face')
It presents a thoroughly modern view of marriage, where it is not the happy ending at the end of the love story, but just a step along the way in the life of the couple
Jacob and Anna's respective other halves, instead of being bitchy boyfriend/girlfriend stealing jerks, are actually decent people who can't help the fact that the people they've fallen for do not love them back. You actually end the film feeling rather sorry for Jennifer Lawrence
Anna's parents are totally English and very hilarious. They play Balderdash
Jacob and Anna have just the right sort of aspirational hipster-type life. He's a furniture designer, she's a general do-everything at a fashion mag. They have nice clothes and nice houses, but it isn't shoved in your face, and it doesn't grate or seem too unrealistic (achievable with a lot of luck)
Most importantly, the ideas that it is possible to find your soulmate, and that true love can and will cross over boundaries of time (zones) and space, they have been updated for the 21st century. While classic romcoms present the boymeetsgirl situation as wildly romantic and highly unrealistic (although I personally have nothing against Bridget Jones running through the snow in her knickers) the, well, realness of 'Like Crazy' and naturalness of the actors, their credible emotions and difficult situation and absolute relateability... It makes me believe that absolute, enduring love does actually exist and is still possible nowadays. And so maybe there is a non-commercial reason to celebrate love (and sickening coupledom) on Valentine's Day.
|David Shrigley's idea of relationships (source)|