Academy award nominated actress plus Tony award nominated actor equals mesmerising performances from leads in the musical romantic film The Last 5 Years.
Adapted from Jason Robert Brown’s hit musical of the same name, The Last 5 Years examines the five-year relationship between married couple Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan), an up-and-coming writer and Cathy Hiatt (Anna Kendrick), a struggling actress. With films such as P.S, I Love You on his slate, Richard LaGravenese superbly directs the musical-to-film tale about love, career and marriage, told almost entirely through musical tracks.
There was no doubt that Anna Kendrick would present another successful musical performance, especially with films like the highly successful Pitch Perfect and Into the Woods on her resume. Kendrick shines in her role as Cathy; a deeply emotional and remarkable portrayal of a young woman who struggles in her marriage as well as her career. Her performance in this film has definitely solidified her position as a triple threat. As Cathy, Kendrick displays incredible musical capability, consistently proving that her voice is just as powerful and appealing as her acting skills. Likewise, Broadway vet Jeremy Jordan showcases his musical prowess, effortlessly performing with professional ease. With each having more professional experience with one theatrical aspect than the other – Kendrick in acting, Jordan in musical theatre – both leads combine into a cohesive partnership that is undeniable on screen.
One of the most outstanding elements of the film is undisputedly the musical soundtrack composed by Brown. Right off the bat, the film is a bipolar mess of emotions; from Cathy’s emotional sadness in “Still Hurting” to Jamie’s euphoria in “Shiksa Goddess”, demonstrating the discontinuity format of the film. LaGravenese excellently balances the emotional aspect of the music in congruity with the theatrical scenes, convincingly combining both sound and imagery.
For those who are unfamiliar with the musical version of the film, The Last 5 Years can be entirely confusing. Unlike the stage version where each lead character performs in isolation and only uniting together once when their respective timelines intersect, the film shifts between the each character’s point of view; Cathy’s story is told from the end of the relationship whilst Jamie’s is told from the beginning. Unfortunately, this form of storytelling loses its wonder when translated on screen. Moreover, subjectivity is sacrificed in order to produced the unstable rhythmic direction of the story.
With the combination of the direction of LaGravenese, a sensational musical catalog and exceptional performances from Kendrick and Jordan, The Last 5 Years is sure to be a hit with theatre lovers.