There have many films over the years about long distance romance including 2010's cute romantic comedy "Going the Distance." In that film it involves one person in New York and the other in L. A. The characters are put in circumstances that bring a chuckle or two. That way, the angst of the difficult romance is lessened. In this film whose title comes from a line "I love you `like crazy'" our lovers have more obstacles including distance. Jacob (Anton Yelchin) is a teaching assistant at a Los Angeles college where Anna (newcomer Felicity Jones) is a student from England. She has eyes for Jacob and leaves him a rather lengthy note on his car windshield. We only see glimpses of the note, but Jacob appreciates the effort and the humor of the contents. They go out and begin dating and eventually fall in love. During this section of the film we of course get to witness what I refer to as the "falling in love part". That is, running on the beach, eating ice cream, riding bumper cars and so on. Life is complicated however as Anna has a student visa that will expire so she must return to England for 3 months before returning. In spite of the potential consequences she decides to stay with Jacob for the summer before returning. Time quickly passes during this section but upon her return to the U. S. she is denied entry because she had previously overstayed her visa.
Anna and Jacob are deeply in love and we can feel their angst. We are led to believe that both are in love, but clearly Anna has been bitten much harder. With time passing before they can reunite, Jacob plays house with an assistant at his business (designing and making custom chairs). As played by Jennifer Lawrence, Sam has also fallen for Jacob. She is a minor character in the plot but Lawrence makes her sweet, sincere and not some evil monster. On the other side of the pond, Anna tries to resolve her visa issue but it will take time even after she and Jacob marry on one of his trips to see her. After he goes back to his business - for some reason he can't relocate - he goes back to Sam and Anna takes up with a neighbor. Simon (Charlie Bewley) isn't a bad guy either. He's thoughtful, handsome and clearly a catch. Still, Jacob and Anna can't shake each other. But can it ever be the same?
Aided by a supple soundtrack, this is a wonderfully drawn film flush with beautiful but believable characters. Even Anna's parents are to die for. Felicity Jones will be a star soon. She has a charm and loveliness that is fresh and welcome. This is an excellent film for those looking for an honest depiction of young romance.
BLU RAY UPDATE (1-7-13) This is the first time I've seen this movie since it was in theaters more than a year ago. I continue to be amazed at Felicity Jones, who I have seen in subsequent films ("The Tempest" and "Albatross") but nothing better than here. The chemistry between her and Anton Yelchin as the long distance lovers is what makes this movie special. Obviously somewhat improvised, especially the physical behavior, you can truly believe this is what falling in love looks and yes, feels like.
Pay attention as well to some really nice supporting performances. Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead as Anna's parents are warm and understanding. Also, second place lovers played by Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley have small but effectively emotional roles. I love the quiet moments, only occasionally filled with the twinkling piano of Dustin O'Halloran. I also like the way the director Drake Doremus and editor Jonathan Alberts cut the film using unusually sharp transitions to cover long periods of time. Very effective.
This viewing was on Blu ray and I thought it was just as sharp as the theatrical version. The film clearly has a smallish budget so some of the camera work is done with hand held HD digital equipment, but I thought the transfer looked clear and colorful. The film comes with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and 1080p resolution. The audio is in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 but isn't a show stopper as this is a dialog driven film. Still some of the club scenes and those at the beach and at the airport give the surrounds something to do. I can understand some audiences being a bit bored with the struggles our lovers face, but I still find it romantically authentic in every way. Extras include the usual commentaries, some cut scenes and some alternate scenes.