The Last Five Years

"Very Good"

The Last Five Years Review


An intimate exploration of a five-year romance through the conflicting points of view of the man and woman involved, this musical is packed with honest, thoughtful observations even if the fragmented structure prevents us from engaging emotionally. Oddly, the story of these years is recounted out of sequence as a series of alternating solos that leap back and forth in time. It's an ambitious approach that probably worked even better on stage in Jason Robert Brown's musical production.

This is the romance of two aspiring artists: actress Cathy (Anna Kendrick) and novelist Jamie (Jeremy Jordan). They meet and fall in love quickly, get married and settle in a New York apartment to build their life together and pursue their dreams. But while Jamie's writing career takes off with his first published book, Cathy struggles to find work and has to travel to Ohio in the summer to perform in a lakeside holiday camp. Back in Manhattan, Jamie's life is a series of glamorous parties where sexy women throw themselves at him. But the worst thing is that Cathy begins to resent his success, while Jamie struggles to encourage her in ways that don't sound patronising. And as they begin to grow apart, these issues only intensify.

Since the scenes play out in seemingly random order, there are no surprising twists and turns in the plot. We know from the opening moment that they are going to split up, and the fragmented structure means that we don't get to watch their happy life unravel. Instead, each achingly truthful scene reveals further details about these two people, swirling their five-year relationship into a collage of emotions, both happy and sad. It only works because it's skilfully directed by Richard LaGravenese (Beautiful Creatures) and acted with open-handed nerve by Kendrick and Jordan.

Both Cathy and Jamie emerge as sympathetic characters; we can see their sides of the story, including the mistakes each of them makes. So the performances reveal a remarkable depth to their inner lives, especially through their expectations and doubts. Meanwhile, the songs are remarkable mainly because of what lies between the lines. The music and lyrics are fresh, alternating numbers between the highs and lows of the relationship. But by playing this out of order, the film lurches jarringly from blissfully happy to achingly sad and back again, leaving us to piece together the sequence of events ourselves. So while the screen is packed with powerful observations that force us to think, it never quite gets under the skin.



The Last Five Years

Facts and Figures

Genre: Musical

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th February 2015

Box Office USA: $0.1M

Distributed by: Radius-TWC

Production compaines: Radius-TWC, Lucky Monkey Pictures, Sh-K-Boom Records, Grand Peaks Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 41 Rotten: 29

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Janet Brenner, Kurt Deutsch, Lauren Versel

Starring: as Cathy, as Jamie, Meg Hudson as Beautiful Girl, Natalie Knepp as Alise Michaels, Cat Lynch as Girl in Dress

Also starring:

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