What Is It: The film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway music The Last Five Years. The musical follows the five year relationship of Anna Kendrick’s aspiring actress Cathy and Jeremy Jordan’s young novelist Jamie. Cathy’s story is told from the end of the marriage moving backwards while Jamie’s moves in the traditionally chronological format. In the stage version, the two do not interact until the wedding duet where the timelines meet.
My Experience: I first discovered this musical when I was beginning college and I downloaded it from iTunes. It was a bit of a surprise to me when I found out it was getting the Hollywood treatment, but I’ve been waiting for it anxiously. Being able to watch it via Comcast On Demand was great. I was happy to avoid the Fifty Shades crowd that was sure to be at the movie theater. I’m wary whenever my local theater has to put up requests to leave the leather and whips at home. The music was as lovely and engaging as I remembered it to be. Anna Kendrick was in her element and has proven herself to be perhaps her generation’s greatest musical actress. She can sing, she can act, and most importantly she can do both at the same time. Her charisma radiates off screen and is perfect for portraying a heartbroken Cathy who doesn’t understand where her marriage went wrong. Jeremy Jordan’s voice is, as always, perfect. There are moments where the chemistry is slightly lacking between the two, but it suits the story as Jamie realizes perhaps the two moved too quickly through their relationship despite their love for each other. If I were to point out one flaw in the film it would likely be in the direction/camera work. There are moments where it seems almost as if the camera ran into a piece of furniture and had to fight for the intended shot. The film overall is remarkably pleasant to watch. The real draw is the sheer talent of the two young actors.
Why You Should See It: Fans of the original musical will definitely not be disappointed. Fans of musicals in general should also see it, not just for the enjoyable experience but also to support the musical genre in general. Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan are part of the future of musicals in on the big screen, so take the opportunity to see them both in their element in a production that puts them both front and center. Take a listen to the soundtrack while you’re at it too. They’ve made a few updates to the music to make it more relevant (ie. switching out the names of stores that are now out of business, throwing in a little dig at Russell Crowe in Les Mis), but it’s just as good as the original 2002 soundtrack.
The Future: Anna Kendrick will be appearing in five films this year, including the much anticipated Pitch Perfect 2. Her star will only continue to rise. Don’t be surprised if both she and Jordan’s names show up in the conversation when casting for the Wicked film adaptation.