The two and a half hours I spent stuck in the snow on a packed train full of drunken yobs was infinitely less infuriating than the 90 minutes of Like Crazy I endured at the Empire, Leicester Square.
It’s been a while that I hated a film that much. The plot, the characters, the limp-wristed directorial attempt to channel a nouvel-vague vibe… just everything, I hated everything about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I do feel bad about trashing a film – basically this celluloid package is the result of months of hard work by hundreds of people all (I’d like to think) doing their best to honour the art of film-making.
In that vein I should probably have a rethink and see if there is something positive I can say. Maybe the acting was good? But’s only true if they were acting. I felt like the characters were just being themselves. Which perhaps is the highest accolade you can give an actor. But if that’s the standard by which we judge the competence of an actor, the ability to be themselves on screen, then Sylvester Stallone should arguable regarded as one of the greatest thespians all time.
Furthermore, I really irked by the characters of the girl and her parents. This is becoming something of a trend as I get older. Middle-class, spoilt brat females are infuriating characters to watch on screen. While watching characters like Anna Paquin’s character in Margret, Abby in Please Give and Anna in Like Crazy, the stench of entitlement fills the auditorium. (ok so that’s perhapse a mixed metaphor but hopefully you get my drift).
Why oh why to scriptwriters keep on creating characters like this? What does it say about our society that little rich bitches of this particularly vile brand are being pushed into the cultural consciousness. Is this a statement about the current generation of women?
Margaret is a beautiful film. Touching, life-affirming but not in anyway trite it is a refreshing and engaging cinematic work. Yes, the characters in this “documentary urban opera” are self-absorbed. But their story is so absorbing the tale so universally human (or perhaps so universally female) that you are pulled into it, your experience journey mirror’s that of the central character who finds herself sucked into to somebody else’s plotline.
Like Crazy, however is dragged down by its mundane, uninspired dialogue. Call me a romantic but their relationship from the outset seemed so bloody average that it required a humungous leap of faith to follow the storylines insistence that these two really were in love and in pain and tortured over their separation. They had lots of money – could go on a cruise and afford not to work but that heady, all consuming, overwhelming feeling of your first love, I didn’t see that anywhere on screen.
After a little bit of digging around I discovered that there was no script for the movie. Director Drake Doremus took just a month to develop dialogue and rehearse with the cast whereas experienced directors like Mike Leigh who go down the improvisation route usually give the actors a year to form relationships that will lead to good content.
As the Observer’s film critic Anthony French put: “It would be a good date movie for a couple on the point of breaking up.”