Crazy Love is the story of one man’s life told in three nights over the course of twenty years. The movie follows one Harry Voss, focusing on his difficult search for love. In 1955 we meet 13-year old Harry, a starry-eyed boy whose idea of romantic love is fashioned by melodramatic movies from Hollywood. Introduced to the mysteries of sex by an older friend, he begins to realize the messiness and pain of love. His vision of his parent’s marriage falls to the sight of them grunting under the sheets. Next we join Harry at age 19, as he’s about to graduate from school. The poor boy is afflicted with one of he worst cases of acne it is possible to imagine, covering him from head to toe in horrible bumps. It is made clear that he has no social life and few friends. Although introverted and shy, he’s convinced by a buddy to attend the graduation dance and goaded into asking the object of his affections to dance. He’s unable to work up the courage until he wraps his face and head in toilet paper — but even when the young girl sweetly accepts his invitation Harry still feels rejected. The night ends with him drunk and arrested. Then we jump to the man at age 33, when Harry has become an alcoholic loner. He runs into an old friend at a bar and the pair goes on a wild night of drinking, culminating in the theft of a dead body from an ambulance. When the corpse turns out to be a beautiful young woman Harry suddenly seems to sober up, becoming serious. When Harry claims to be in love with the dead girl his friend is unsure of what to do, but reluctantly goes along with a makeshift marriage ceremony on the beach.
Coming as a complete surprise to me, Crazy Love is one of the most beautiful, touching films I’ve seen in a long time. Its three-act construction shows us the path Harry takes from hopeful adolescent to bitter adult with great clarity. When he makes his final choice in love it has been preordained from the moment he discovered the truth about his parents marriage. I don’t know if Crazy Love is one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen… or one of the most uplifting. I guess it all depends on how you view the ending. I’ve been thinking about it for days now an I’m no closer to one side or the other — but I can say that it is one very good movie. The third act is a very faithful adaptation of Charles Bukowski’s short story The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, CA. This segment was originally filmed as a short called Foggy Night but on its strength was expanded into a full-length feature. In leaving Bukowski’s work behind, the filmmakers manage to enhance the story in brilliant ways. Starting as they did by telling the end of the story, with a burnt-out husk of a man, they back up to show us how he got there. This creates a classic tragic character to rival any I’ve seen before in film. When I learned that the film had been written ‘backwards’ I was stunned. The movie builds so perfectly to its climax that I could hardly believe it was possible. I’ve seen dramas that were written in a more conventional fashion that don’t have half the effect of Crazy Love. I can only conclude that having such a powerful finale gave the writers a very clear narrative end to build toward and boy, do they! By seizing on the various ways of viewing romantic love and allowing Harry Voss’ life to show one natural, sad progression they found the perfect prelude to Bukowski’s fiction. I understand the author liked the Foggy Night short but I can only think he would have loved the whole movie.
This is a very good film… But is the story ultimately sad? Is Harry’s final choice helpless or hopeful? The film is smart enough to leave that determination to the individual viewer in much the same way a good fiction writer often does.
Rod Barnett | eccentric-cinema.com
Crazy.Love.1987.Documentary.DVDRIP.H264-CG.mkv (English subbed)