The Last Five Years  is a musical drama. More specifically, it’s a sad deconstruction of a marriage between Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) and Cathy (Anna Kendrick). Told almost entirely through song, it explores this couple’s marriage for, you guessed it, five years. While this may appeal more to fans of the musical, even non-fans will find something to appreciate here.
Marry Me Anna Kendrick. What a talent. If she wants to make a musical every year, that’s fine by me. She has a tremendous voice with plenty of charisma to go with it. She’s so good that she makes her partner look weak by comparison. Jeremy Jordan is quite good and a fine singer, but he lacks the star power of his co-star. When they share scenes, all eyes are on her. But when he’s solo, he’s perfectly fine. He’s just no match for Anna Kendrick (but really, who is?).
Live singing! According to director Richard LaGravenese, live singing was used for many of the musical numbers. Thankfully, none of the songs are as obvious or in-your-face as Les Miserables (2012)was (which I did like). Standouts include, but are not limited to, Still Hurting, Moving Too Fast, A Summer in Ohio, and If I Didn’t Believe in You. The latter song is even filmed in an impressive oner. Richard LaGravenese, who directed films like Beautiful Creaturesand P.S. I Love Youshows some nice range here.
Better than A Summer in Ohio. LaGravenese also has a talent for staging musical numbers. A Summer in Ohio and Moving Too Fast both have great choreography that livens up what is a depressing story. He knows the right amount of time to linger, but also when to cut. And that’s not something to overlook because staging a musical number is hard. If you want proof, look at Annie (2014).