It never works out like it does in the movies. Or in the case of this movie, it just never works out.

It’s heartbreaking, sure, but it’s a heck of a lot more realistic than, say, The Notebook (although I’m the first to admit, I love that movie, and not just because Ryan Gosling is in it). In Like Crazy, two university students fall in love. Simple enough. But they fall deep. And the catch is that the girl, Anna, on a student visa to Los Angeles, has to return back to Britain when she overstays her visa limit. Jacob, the American guy she fell for, is left in California. Both are desperate as they try to stay in each other’s lives via text, call, e-mail.

I like love stores because I like the idea of love. I’ve never experienced it myself (yet, fingers crossed), so for that reason it’s a concept that continuously eludes me. Sure, I’ve been infatuated. But I’ve never felt what Anna and Jacob feel in the film. They try so unbelievably hard to stay connected, to stay relevant to each other. They even *caution: spoiler* go so far as to get married just so that Anna can be let back into the States.

While watching the vulnerable performances by Felicity Jones (Anna) and Anton Yelchin (Jacob), I began to believe in their love. Of course, there were obstacles along the way, but I started to think it might work out for these kids. Maybe if you love someone that much, things really can work out. But of course, as years go by and both sides try to move on with their lives while at the same time not give up on each other, something gets lost in the mix. When Anna can finally get back into America, the couple discovers that the distance has put more than just miles between them. They embrace, and it’s genuine and it’s powerful and it’s sad, because you know the end is coming. And then it does – for both the relationship and the film.

I found some parts to be a bit cliché (for example, early on in the relationship Jacob gives Anna a silver bracelet that says Patience), and some of the scenes a bit too “artsy” (for example, there were multiple shots simply of the couples’ feet that did little to resonate with me). Still, director Drake Doremus does a good job of showing the vulnerability of love and the people in it, exploring both ecstasy and heartbreak through two young and passionate souls.

Admittedly, though, the movie is exhausting. My friends and I walked out of the theatre to discover only about an hour and a half had passed when it felt like we were in there for at least two. But maybe that’s just a testament to the way the film was designed; maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be consumed. Like Crazy is not really meant to make you happy. Sure, there are moments of bliss where it feels like you’re in love along with Anna and Jacob, but a lot of the movie is about the staggering loss that comes from falling out of love. And that’s not pleasant for anyone.

But who am I to say, really? I’ve never been in love so I sure as heck have never fallen out of it. All I know is what I see. And in this case, I see two kids who appreciate the time they had together but who ultimately know it’s over. The fact that Anna and Jacob don’t end up together doesn’t change the fact that their relationship was real and it was true. They had an affect they had on each other; they helped shape each other. And we all have people like that. People who come into our lives for a period of time and help us grow and then for whatever reason leave again. And that’s okay; it’s okay that they’re not present in our lives anymore. They move on, we move on. But it doesn’t mean we don’t miss them like crazy.