Gone Too Soon: 6 Reasons Why 'Like Crazy' is Anton Yelchin's Most Unforgettable Performance

Earlier this week, we learned of the tragic death of Anton Yelchin, an incredibly talented actor who was just 27 years old at the time of his passing. 

It's unfortunately just one of many devastating and confusing events in the news as of late. 

The majority of people probably know Yelchin from his role in Charlie Bartlett and the recent Star Trek reboots, but he had been a working actor for nearly 15 years prior to his death. 

I first became aware of him after seeing him in the 2011 indie romance Like Crazy, which promptly resulted in an ongoing love affair with the film and with Yelchin as an actor. 

In an effort to maintain behavior that is deeply consistent with who I am as a human being, I proceeded to engage with the film in any and all ways I could get my hands on.

I've seen Like Crazy upwards of a thousand times, have practically memorized the DVD commentary, own the soundtrack and listen to it religiously, and will discuss the film with any human who is willing to engage in a 12 hour discussion about it. 

Or, you know, friends who are not at all interested but humor me when I launch into a full-fledged emotional breakdown about it. 

The movie centers around Jacob and Anna, who meet as college seniors and struggle to continue their relationship after graduation, after Anna runs into trouble with her student visa. 

It's simple, it's beautiful, and it's without a doubt my favorite movie of all time. And in my opinion, it's one of Yelchin's best performances, yet for some reason it remains to be his least discussed and most underrated. 

So, in case you haven't seen the film, or simply need to be reminded of its brilliance, read on. And then go watch it immediately. Warning: you'll want a box of tissues handy. 

1. There's no crazy plot 


Like Crazy, at its core, is just about two humans trying to be together. That's it. 

There's no CGI, no outlandish plot twists, no explosions. It's just two people trying to make a relationship work, which is something we can all relate to on some level. 


Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good CGI'd intergalactic battle as much as the next person, but it's refreshing to watch something that reflects our everyday lives every now and again. 

2. Top notch cast

Aside from Yelchin's brilliance, the film also lends itself to the talents of Felicity Jones (pre-Oscar noms, but just as captivating), Jennifer Lawrence (yup), Alex Kingston (of Doctor Who fame), and a brief appearance by Chris Messina (Mindy's love interest on The Mindy Project).

The entire cast works flawlessly together, but Yelchin and Jones' relationship is, unsurprisingly, the star of the show. 

Felicity Jones' performance is equally as layered and heartbreaking at Yelchin's, and the two of them together are simply magical.

3. The performances are improvised


YES, you read that correctly.

Screenwriters Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones created a 50 page script that contained major points and emotional beats, but the dialogue was almost entirely improvised by the cast. 

How freaking amazing is that? 


Doremus, who also directed the film, believed that the dialogue would come about naturally once the actors had a grasp on the characters and their relationships. Needless to say, he was not wrong.

In fact, Felicity Jones had such a clear sense of her character that she actually penned a poem that Anna writes and reads aloud to Jacob in the film. It also happens to be one of the most beautifully resonant things I've ever read. NBD. 


4. It's authentic


Because of the improvisation in the film, it's incredibly raw and real. It doesn't play like a standard scripted movie - it almost feels more like a documentary.

The conversations mimic those that people who are close with each other actually have in real life, awkward pauses, drawn out silences and all. 

The ending of the film is also completely ambiguous. I'll never forget sitting in the theater watching it for the first time - the final scene played out, and as the credits appeared on the screen, the entire audience audibly gasped in shock. 


We were just not expecting it to end so abruptly, with so many questions unanswered. As audience members, we're typically not used to this. We expect everything to be brought to a close neatly, unsure as to how the filmmakers will create the sequel that will inevitably follow. 

But the ending of Like Crazy is far more in line with the events our actual lives - sometimes things end without answers, without closure, whether we like it or not. 

5. The soundtrack 


Roughly half of the Like Crazy soundtrack was composed by pianist Dustin O'Halloran, specifically for the film. 

His songs are entirely instrumental, completely gorgeous, and compliment the tone of the film perfectly. 

I highly recommend listening to it on the train as you stare at your reflection in the opposite window and imagine you are currently starring as a complex and emotionally distressed character in your very own indie romance film. 

6. #Feelings 

Basically, Like Crazy will destroy you in all the best ways, especially now in light of Yelchin's recent passing. 

His performance in the film is nothing short of extraordinary, one that deserves to be regarded as one of his best and most inspiring for years to come. 


So rent it from Redbox, order it on Netflix, or hell, illegally stream it from the internet. Just get your hands on it somehow because we already miss Yelchin like crazy. 

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[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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