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Film review: The Last Five Years - Anna Kendrick sings her heart out

The Last Five Years Starring: Anna Kendrick,Jeremy Jordan Director: Richard LaGravenese Category : IIA

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 10:11am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 10:11am

In Jason Robert Brown's musical The Last Five Years, which premiered in Chicago in 2001 and became an off-Broadway hit the following year, a young New York couple's five-year relationship is heart-rendingly reconstructed from the viewpoints of its twenty-something protagonists: one chronologically from the passionate meet-cute, and the other in reverse from the bitter end.

Directed by Richard LaGravenese ( P.S. I Love You) and with music and lyrics adapted by Brown, this film version makes a contrived transition from the idiosyncratic stage settings. The jumbled timeline loses its sheen of novelty in cinematic form, and any engagement will depend on the viewer's zeal for a two-character film almost devoid of dialogue. It feels like a music video that refuses to end.


The bare bones of a story follows two creatives as their impulsive marriage — after a moonlit proposal in the middle of the film — cracks under pressure from their deviating career paths. While Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) secures a major book deal and becomes a bestselling novelist, the actress, Cathy (Anna Kendrick), stumbles from one failed audition to another before settling for summer-season theatre in Ohio.

As Cathy's impatience is exacerbated by Jamie's smug, philandering ways, their immense sadness is tempered by performances that are inadvertently made artificial by the generic pop ballads. Although Jordan's charisma feels more suited for Broadway, admirers of Kendrick can at least savour the Pitch Perfect star's singing voice with minimal interruption.

The Last Five Years opens on June 18