What sort of sacrifices are you willing to make for someone you love? I’m talking romantic love here, not parental or other familial love since those are very different things. I mean the kind of love between two people, the kind that makes you believe you can do anything and has you walking on air much of the day because you know it’s always waiting for you? Even more simply, what would you do to simply be with the person you loved when outside forces were pulling you physically apart?
In the new movie Like Crazy Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) are students together who fall madly, passionately in love. But she’s a British citizen and when she violates the terms of her visa she must go back home, rending asunder their burgeoning love. So the movie not only tracks the beginning of their relationship but also the consequences of her actions and how they must adjust to still being a couple while at the same time having an ocean between them.
The poster for the movie features Yelchin and Jones walking along the beach, the sun bleaching out the colors of the image as they do so. At the top are some of the film’s festival credentials and over the picture of the two characters are all sorts of declarations of love that end with the title, which is a nice way to present that. It certainly shows off the main aspect of the film’s story – the relationship between the two of them – and tells the audience clearly what the movie is about.
The first minute or so of the movie’s first trailer plays like a stand-alone version of the montages that are in so many movies that show days in the lives of our two characters as they spend time with each other and continue falling in love. We’re not introduced to them by name, we don’t get narration or anything that explains their situation. We just see them together doing all sorts of things and talking in deep, emotional ways occasionally. While the couple seems very much in love there’s about 25 seconds toward the end that shows things aren’t all deeply held glances. Each one spends time with someone else but even then they don’t seem all that happy.
It’s a charming and low-key trailer. I like it a lot because while, as I stated, the footage plays kind of like a montage from a much cheesier movie it doesn’t fall victim to the cliches of most trailers in that it doesn’t spend a lot of effort trying to set the movie up for the audience. The music that plays over the video fits it perfectly as well.
The second trailer gets a little bit deeper into the story. The first 30 seconds or so of this one are devoted to showing how much they love each other as they begin their relationship, though things shift after he asks if she’s thought about what they’re going to do after they graduate, which is followed shortly about how she’s about to have visa issues. They start trying to have a long-distance relationship but there are obviously problems that continue to cause stress in their relationship. So it’s that stress that leads them to see other people, though the inference with the last bits of footage are that they work around those problems in some manner.
It’s just as good as the first one but for different reasons. Where the first one was all about atmosphere and feeling this one buoys those elements with some character insights that actually make the movie more attractive, I think, as it lays out the story more clearly.
The first section on the movie’s official website is “Videos” and that’s where you can watch both the Theatrical Trailers as well as a TV Spot. The “Gallery” then has eight or nine production stills, most of them featuring the combination of Yelchin and Jones.
“About the Film” has a story synopsis that teases but doesn’t really go deeply into the story as well as Production Notes that are broken up into four parts and which actually feature a much more thorough recap of the film’s plot points.
There are highlights from the careers of the “Cast & Filmmakers” in that section. “Downloads” has two Desktop wallpapers and five AIM Icons you can add to your collections. “Reviews & Accolades” has a list of the film’s festival appearances and wins along with pull quotes from reviews that came out of those screenings, though without links that could take you to the full story.
The “Tell Someone How You Feel” tool prompts you to add a verb to the phrase “I (blank) you #likecrazy” and then push that contribution to Twitter, complete with hashtag.
We begin our transition over to Facebook with the “Poster Creator” feature here. Clicking that takes you to Facebook, where you can select a photo, add some text and create your own version of the movie’s poster which can then be shared with your other friends on that network.
The rest of the Facebook page is filled with Wall posts from fans, photos, videos and other material. There was also a Twitter feed that had similar updates along with plenty of responses to fan questions, which is good to see.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Limited advertising was done and I’m not aware of any cross-promotions. There was at least one TV spot created that hit the same notes and was structured in much the same way as the trailer and so works for many of the same reasons even if it is quite a bit shorter.
Media and Publicity
Initially debuting at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival (Los Angeles Times, 1/20/11) it would go on to be one of the festival’s most-buzzed about movies. There it became one of the first movies to get bought for distribution and earned rave reviews for Jones and Yelchin, with the latter doing plenty of interviews (Hollywood Reporter, 1/22/11) about the movie and the improvised nature of the shoot. The movie would go on to win the festival’s Grand Jury Prize (Filmmaker Magazine, 1/29/11). Looking to build off the buzz coming off the fantastic screenings a handful of clips were released in short order that let remote audiences get a taste of what everyone was talking about.
I like this campaign a lot but wish there had been more of an effort later in the game – meaning any time after July or so – to get it in front of a bigger audience. Things seem to have wound down after the release of the posters and trailers, with no sizable press push (at least not any that I noticed) coming to drive the campaign home in the last couple of months.
But what there is is attractive, consistent and sells the movie I think fairly well. There’s a lot of good stuff here for those in the audience who enjoy hopeless romantic movies, particularly those that feature lots of “realism” and genuine emotion as opposed to sitcomish stunts and other such plot devices.