The Last Five Years is the type of film which doesn’t have broad mainstream appeal, but for those who love Broadway-styled musicals on the big screen, this film is certainly for you.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Cathy (Anna Kendrick) is an inspiring theater performer who finds herself in love with Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) who becomes an accomplished novelist over the course of their relationship. One which begins, as all do, full of love, hope, and the type of support a person craves when in pursuit of a career in the arts. However, as Jamie becomes successful, Cathy remains someone who auditions and doesn’t get the part, and constantly questions her talent.
Leading to a film which deals with the various highs and lows of Cathy and Jamie’s relationship, and it showing how Jamie’s success, and perhaps Cathy’s jealousy, ruined a perfectly cute couple.
The main thing worth praising, for those not interested in musical theater, is that Kendrick and Jordan not only make a cute couple but have just enough chemistry to allow you to forgive their overacting. For with it seeming they both geared themselves to perform as if they were on stage, at times you will feel the need to roll your eyes. However, when they stop singing and begin talking like two people in a relationship would, you get moments in which you are left hoping these two actors may get another chance to work together.
Being that when it comes to musicals I’m used to the likes of Chicago, Dreamgirls, or the Disney films, listening to two actors sing one song after another in a movie is new to me. Which perhaps is why I utterly hated the fact that when one song ended, another began. Though perhaps the main issue I disliked this being done in the film is because none of the songs are catchy, and while both Kendrick and Jordan have good enough voices to sing a song here and there, I wouldn’t say either have the type of mesmerizing voices which make listening to them sing for an hour and half a fun time.
But it isn’t just the singing which I found to be an issue, but also the story. For while Kendrick and Jordan do have chemistry, there isn’t much development between their characters and the film doesn’t show their love story in chronological order. This was an issue to me for, outside of Jamie noting his age or the sign on a theater camp Cathy goes to, it isn’t always clear what part of their 5-year relationship we were in. And, to be completely honest, while Kendrick and Jordan, as people, are cute together, I wouldn’t say at all that the relationship between Cathy and Jamie is the type of story which will make you envious, even when it was at its high. Mostly because it was shallow. Them being happy meant he was is joyous lust, and she still had hopes for a career, and them being unhappy was her hopes being dashed and him giving in to the spoils of his success, and her resenting him for it.
Overall: Skip It
While the leads have good chemistry, unfortunately, neither their voices, the songs, nor the storyline take full advantage of that. And while I’ll admit that musicals which have consistent singing aren’t my thing, at the same time, possibly, if the songs were good, had the ability to grow on you, or got better as the movie went on, perhaps this film could have been an exception. However, being that the actors don’t have the type of voices which mesmerize, and the songs aren’t good, sadly what the film does the most is exhibit some of its worse qualities.
And even putting the singing and songs aside, sadly the storyline isn’t a silver lining. For with you being given very little reason to invest in Cathy and Jamie’s relationship, much less wonder why they broke up, the film doesn’t rise above being good background noise for a nap. Hence the Skip It label.