Jennifer Lawrence’s rise to stardom as a defining actress of her generation is hard to pinpoint. Was it her role as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” or her Academy Award nomination for “Winter’s Bone”? Perhaps it was her portrayal of Mystique in the X-Men franchise. While Lawrence’s collaborations with Bradley Cooper played a crucial role in her career, it is important to acknowledge her earlier co-star, the late Anton Yelchin. Together, Lawrence and Yelchin worked on films such as “The Beaver” and “Like Crazy” before Yelchin’s tragic accident in 2016.
The collaborations between Lawrence and Yelchin had a unique strength. Over time, Lawrence and Cooper seemed to be playing similar roles, often portraying confident yet unhinged characters who found themselves in over their heads. This formula worked well in films like “Silver Linings Playbook,” where their emotional vulnerability shone through. However, as their collaborations continued, these qualities started to fade. Movies like “American Hustle” and “Joy” showcased more of the same, and their attempt to break free from the pattern with “Serena” turned out to be a disappointment. In contrast, Lawrence’s work with Yelchin brought a sense of vulnerability that was absent in her later films.
“The Beaver” and “Like Crazy” were films that showcased the unique chemistry between Lawrence and Yelchin. “Like Crazy” is a simple romantic drama that follows the relationship between an American student and his British lover. Lawrence’s character briefly comes into the picture as a neighbor, adding complexity to the story. The performances of Yelchin and Lawrence electrify the screen, making it hard not to be captivated by their on-screen dynamic. Similarly, “The Beaver” explores the story of a depressed toy company owner who uses a beaver puppet as a coping mechanism. Yelchin plays his son, and Lawrence portrays a classmate he is interested in. The chemistry between Yelchin and Lawrence adds depth to the family drama, elevating it beyond its plot contrivances.
Both “Like Crazy” and “The Beaver” are underrated films that may have been overlooked. “Like Crazy” represents the type of indie breakout that captures attention at film festivals, while “The Beaver” is an unhinged project that only a major Hollywood star like Mel Gibson could make. Unfortunately, these subgenres are not as supported in the current theatrical landscape. However, the undeniable chemistry between Yelchin and Lawrence shines through in both films, leaving a lasting impact.
Although Yelchin’s life was tragically cut short, Lawrence holds his abilities in high regard. In the documentary “Love, Antosha,” Lawrence expresses her admiration for his talent. Her words reflect the mutual respect they shared as actors. While it is heartbreaking to think about what could have been, it is important to appreciate the work Lawrence and Yelchin left behind.
Jennifer Lawrence’s journey to stardom involved collaborations with various co-stars, including Bradley Cooper. However, her partnerships with Anton Yelchin were equally important and showcased a different side of her talent. “The Beaver” and “Like Crazy” highlighted the chemistry and vulnerability between Lawrence and Yelchin. These films may have been underrated, but their emotional depth and impact are worth recognizing. Despite Yelchin’s tragic loss, his contributions to the film industry and his collaborations with Lawrence continue to resonate.