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"muffles" : a like crazy sound analysis

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Drake Doremus’ 2011 film, Like Crazy, taps into the bruisingly bittersweet finite reality of the now. Despite being unable to desert from the genre’s characterized romantic montages, the film’s sound choices refreshingly enable a not overly filtered delivery. The score serves a more atmospheric role with all but one track being absent of lyrics and dialogue is crisp to the audience’s ear. This minimal decoration allows for a leading diegetic sound effects design. The genuine vulnerability of two young adults’ wander through an unexpected long-distance relationship is captured in such rawness. Perhaps this is most transparent in one of the film’s first intimate scenes.

A wide shot shows Anna and Jacob sitting towards each other on Anna’s bed as Paul Simon’s Graceland plays softly from the CD player. The song’s steady beat and quirky guitar surround them. There is a muffle of the duvet as Jacob asks the writer to read him something. He speaks delicately, but his last syllable is sharp, as is Anna’s when she wonders what he’d like her to read. Jacob responds with “Something you wrote?” and Anna agrees. The duvet crisps and Anna’s bracelet faintly rattles as she gets up. There is a clink of a glass and a light thud as Anna’s fingers land on a hard-covered notebook. The words of the song begin behind her request that there is no laughing, to which Jacob breathes “I’m not gonna laugh”. The end of his sentence drifts off as Anna sits back down. The springs of the bed creak and her tights scruff against the duvet. She takes a short breath before stating that this was her first time reading it aloud. They both chuckle. “You sure you want to hear it?” Anna asks, to which Jacob nods. Notebook pages crisp open, Anna takes in a deep breath and begins reading. The music softens as Anna’s ending syllables click between her sharp line breaks. There is a slight pause. Paul Simon still murmurs. There is a faintest breath in before Anna swallows. Her lips then click into the second stanza. The fabric under Jacob crunches as he shifts closer to Anna. “I like the halves that half you in half,” making Anna giggle as her pen clicks because she finds the line childish. Jacob disagrees, and Paul Simon slowly returns to his beat and guitar. A flute is added as the song slightly heightens. There is another smitten pause. The tracing of a pen and skin are heard on the opened note page. The lyrics of the song continue. The book’s spine screeches before an abrupt thud of the hard-cover follows. Jacob’s sleeve grazes the pillow as he shifts. He takes a deep breath, one louder than previous ones in the scene. His hands then brush the book after Anna’s. There is a sharp flap of the pages and a sigh is heard from Jacob. The pen rattles as he twirls it into writing posture. Scribbling from the pen and the rustling of sleeves are heard, louder than that from Anna’s previous tracing. A click signifies Jacob’s finish and rustling heightens as he hands the notebook to Anna. The pen rattles as Anna swirls it between her fingers. A loud laugh from Anna cracks the softness and is followed by a deep breath of recollection. This repeats, only louder, as the scene ends.

This scene sets the basis of what will be the rotating finite periods of time that Anna and Jacob have next to each other. I characterize the scene as intimate, oddly without it containing any actual physical contact between the love interests. And though the conversation is set on Anna’s bed, the real vulnerability lies in the way tenderness is expressed without overtly being there at all – as love is, in a long-distance relationship. Warmth is not always gleaming when two are apart. It is sometimes through the quiet muffles that we’ll see love. And Like Crazy captures this magic.

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