After venting my annoyance at yesterday’s Oscars I decided to watch the new film version of one of my favorite Broadway musicals- The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. Faith now restored in movies🙂
The show and movie are about a couple whose relationship lasts 5 years. Cathy played by the luminous Anna Kendrick dreams of being a Broadway star. Jamie played by Jeremy Jordan is a young novelist whose first novel is a big hit.
The timeline for the movie is very clever. It starts out with Cathy getting the break up letter and singing. While Jamie begins the movie at the beginning of the relationship and then it flips back and forth. I thought that was neat. (The play is divided into separate segments on the stage and they get together for a duet at the proposal)
Here’s the trailer
I love, love, love, love, love the music and they translate it to the movies very well. We know from Pitch Perfect and Into the Woods Anna Kendrick can sing but her voice is at its best here. Jeremy Jordan isn’t quite as good but he still holds his own.
The music in Last Five Years sounds like simple narration but trust me it is very tough to pull off and they do a great job here. See I’m Smiling is my particular favorite. It is such a well written song that goes through every emotion from hope, happiness to anger to despair.
One word of profanity in this but I just love it. (I like every song in this show. They feel so authentic, human and real)
The show and movie does a great job showing the complete journey of a couple with the highs and lows. Jordan and Kendrick have wonderful chemistry and it feels like they love and hate each other depending on the moment. Kind of like Boyhood on the surface it is simple, just the story of a couples ups and downs over 5 years, but it tells us so much about love and life along the way.
It is also not a downer with very funny sequences like ‘In Ohio’ when Cathy is working trying to catch the eye of someone who can give her a part in New York.
For someone who is a die hard musical fan I don’t find that many new movie musicals I like. Most are either too explicit, vulgar or dopey. Into the Woods was great until the 3rd act and then the tone went all wrong. However, The Last Five Years is the exception to the rule. I loved it. You can watch it on demand or in theaters so please check it out! (Wish more movies did that).
As far as content it has a little profanity, sensuality and a character has multiple affairs but it is pretty tame. Certainly appropriate for teens and up.
Content Grade- B, Overall Grade- A