The Last Five Years (Film / Musical – Starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan)
This is a musical about the birth, life and death of a relationship set in New York City. Jamie is an author that makes it big with his first novel getting a book deal with Random House and now he’s dealing with all that success brings. Cathy is a struggling actor forced to work summer stock in Ohio when all her auditions don’t pan out in the city.
What makes this film so amazing isn’t the fact that the story is almost told entirely in song, it’s the way it’s constructed. The first song of the movie is Cathy lamenting the end of their marriage; the next song is Jamie singing about how happy he is to meet such a wonderful woman. The two characters alternate songs: Cathy’s storyline starts at the end of their marriage and ends with them falling in love while Jamie’s starts at the beginning and goes to the end with him moving out of their apartment. Both stories meet in the middle at their wedding.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this one since the construction is so different and it’s a musical. I can’t see it working any other way. By having the happiness of one character sharply contrast with the despair of the other the songs are more balanced – it’s not all slow depressing ballads all at once at the end. They came interspersed throughout. It works, and works really well.
Must see musical number: Anna Kendrick singing about being stuck doing summer stock in Ohio with a snake named Wayne; laugh out loud funny.