Well acted. Well written. Well worth seeing.
by Martin Hafer
Whenever I review a foreign language film, I fully realize many people won’t bother watching the picture because it’s not in English. This is a shame, as many of the better films I have seen have been in a variety of languages and with Like Crazy, you’d be missing a very good movie.
The story begins in a psychiatric institution in Italy. Beatrice (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) is a patient, though she won’t admit this to anyone … even herself. In her distorted mind, she is a contessa … and the old mansion used as a hospital was donated by her to treat these unfortunate people! So, while at times Beatrice looks and seems very normal, she is severely deluded and self-absorbed.
When a new resident arrives, Beatrice decides to make Donatella (Micaela Ramazzotti) her own personal project. After all, she is a rich, benevolent lady and helping the unfortunates is her life! So how, exactly, does she ‘help’? Yep … she orchestrates an escape and soon the oddly matched pair are out on a joy ride … complete with stolen car.
At this point in the movie, Paolo Virzi (who wrote and directed the picture) could have chosen to make the film a kooky comedy, like Crazy People or The Couch Trip … which is what you might expect with a Hollywood film. Fortunately, Like Crazy does not go there but manages to be rather poignant as well as realistic.
You learn more about Beatrice and Donatella and their lives outside the institution but there are no magic solutions to their problems. After all, they are indeed very ill and mental illness isn’t particularly funny … and is often quite tragic. Now this is not to say that ultimately this is a depressing or tragic film … and it manages to say quite a bit while still being believable and compelling.
Martin's Grade: B