The Last Five Years
Starring Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Jordan
I have concluded that director Richard LaGravenese was a one hit wonder as his only reputable film was Living Out Loud. Since then he has delivered nothing but love story misfires from Hilary Swank in P. S. I Love You to his Twilight rip off Beautiful Creatures. The Last Five Years is an ambitious modern day musical, half of the two person cast sounds like perfection in the vocal arena. The technical choice to shoot the songs and record the performances live is a real testament to both Kendrick and Jordan’s stamina. However, I cannot think of a more depressing film for twenty-something’s. Not only a downer but at times a make-your-ears-bleed, when will this end, what stage of their relationship am I in, mess.
Cathy (Kendrick) and Jamie (Jordan) started out as the picture perfect couple, a writer and a theater performer, dancing, singing and loving through the hard times. Their romance escalated quickly, they moved in together, got married and had when Jamie became very successful with his writing, Cathy, still struggled at auditions. Their resentment began to pile up, one in Ohio, one in New York, frequent visits become more expansive ones. Cathy and Jamie met at the right place as the right time but as their lives changed, so did what they want and their tolerance for each other.
Kendrick is the highlight of this film, her vocal range is far beyond that of Jordan who makes his feature film debut.
Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods) is a very talented artist. She can go from musical, to comedy, to drama and back to musicals with unprecedented ease. Kendrick, unlike most actor/singers didn’t just ride her one musical performance hit like so many actor/singers do, but she managed to make a career out of it and could almost be credited at sustaining the movie musical the past few years. Kendrick is also the highlight of this film, her vocal range is far beyond that of Jordan who makes his feature film debut. His credits include the short lived television show Smashed. Jordan however has a Rob Lowe type of annoyance about him and drowns half the film in it.
Songs like the opener “I’m Still Hurting” really set the tone for some highs and lows. The script, like life, is a roller coaster of emotions, showcased out of sequence to provide the audience with a varied perspective on how the characters got to that tearful opening scene. There is a very endearing Christmas serenade and a hysterical inner monologue during an audition (“These are the people who cast Russell Crowe in a musical…”). Yet the 90 min film feels like and endless tirade of singing arguments and we watch as this beautifully vivacious relationship between two beautiful people turns into something really depressing over the next five years.
Kendrick sounds great, Jordan is a bore, and the movie is one big downer.