Director: Drake Doremus
Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
The independent film scene in the US is delivering up some big arguments to counter the Hollywood romcom line that finding love is the best thing ever.
Audiences who enjoyed being dragged through (500) Days of Summer and Blue Valentine are in for more heartache in the directing debut of talent-to-watch Doremus. Jones plays Anna, a young British college student on a sabbatical in Los Angeles. She falls in love with her American classmate Jacob (Yelchin), but when the semester ends, so does her student visa.
Deciding to overstay her visa leads to her being denied entry into the US the next time she tries to visit and so the madly-in-love couple are forced to conduct a long-distance relationship.
When Hollywood touched upon these issues, it offered the saccharine Green Card and the awful Going the Distance. Doremus, instead, gives us the warts-and-all version, as over a period of four years, the couple struggle with visa applications, break-ups, affairs and arguments - lots of arguments.
The freewheeling camera is matched by the storytelling technique that jumps from one incident to another without needing a strong plot thread. Initially, this makes it hard to feel empathy for the couple. Yet, as more obstacles are put in their way, and the foolish things they do in the name of love become apparent, the characters begin to crawl under the skin.
The cumulative effect is extremely strong. It's a powerful directorial debut, with strong acting that packs a huge emotional punch.
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