(director/writer: Drake Doremus; screenwriter: Ben York Jones; cinematographer: John Guleserian; editor: Jonathan Alberts; music: Dustin O’Halloran; cast: Anton Yelchin (Jacob), Felicity Jones (Anna), Jennifer Lawrence (Samantha), Charlie Bewley (Simon), Oliver Muirhead (Bernard), Alex Kingston (Jackie); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Jonathan Schwartz/Andrea Sperling; Paramount; 2011)

It was an easy film to enjoy for all the good things it presented.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Mumblecore filmmaker Drake Doremus (“Douchebag“)directs this indie bittersweet love story that’s co-written by the director and Ben York Jones, using close-up shots effectively to show what his subjects are feeling without having them articulate it..

The hunky Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and the pretty Anna (Felicity Jones) are attending college together in Los Angeles, where native Californian Jacob is studying furniture design and Britisher Anna is an aspiring writer. The two eye each other during a class session and the more aggressive coed leaves a cute note on Jacob’s car windshield, which lands a date. Both students fall in love for the first time, but when Anna’s visa expires and she returns to London we are left wondering if their separation will end their romance. Over the next seven years, the lovers unite and split. Anna blogs for a magazine and goes out with health food nut Simon (Charlie Bewley); while Jacob romances the attractive blonde Samantha (Jennifer Lawrence), a secretary in his growing furniture design company. Despite the distance that keeps them apart, Jacob and Anna still have strong feelings for each other and must decide on whether to act on them or not.

The acting is natural and convincing, with the improvised dialogue working for the most part; while the story is very thin, it’s nevertheless filled with the joys, pains and poignant moments that ring true in any meaningful relationship that is put through the test of endurance. It was an easy film to enjoy for all the good things it presented, and even more so because the relationship seemed genuine. It left us the real-life up-and-down moments of a romance to observe and not the Hollywood impression that falling in love is all it takes to have a relationship work.

The film won top jury honors and the Best Actress award for Jones at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.