By Amanda Kieth
The low down
The Last Five Years tells the story of a couple, Cathy and Jamie, who are together over a period of five years. Jamie tells the story from the start of the relationship to the end and Cathy from the end to the beginning.
We begin by seeing Cathy, tears running down her face as she looks out of the window of a dimly lit apartment. The opening scene really caught my eye as it was dramatic and straight to the point. I hadn’t seen the stage show so I didn’t know the story well but Kendrick sings with so much emotion, I was instantly pulled into the character’s story. The camera pans the apartment throughout the song and there is insight into the life they shared before the ‘foundations cracked’ as photos and furniture are focused in on.
Jamie in contrast, makes his first appearance with an upbeat, high energy song. The scene is five years prior to the events in the first. The scene takes place in his apartment with Cathy before they moved in together. The lighting is bright in stark contrast to the first scene and they are very much in love. The aspect which really sticks out is the onscreen chemistry between the two characters which is strong and believable.
As the story moves on, it shows the various cracks in the relationship. One of the main issues is their work; Cathy as a failing actress and Jamie as a successful writer. Cathy’s story is one of frustration. Jamie is hugely successful whilst she is failing however he refuses to ‘fail because [she] cannot win’. Cathy goes from being the loving, supportive wife to feeling so left behind because she can’t succeed in her own life. The frustrations grow as she becomes less and less a part of his life whilst he is swept away with his success. The beautifully written songs help illustrate the issues on both sides; a combination a lack of compromise and not being open and honest enough.
Personally, I love this show and think the movie version has been done fantastically. Both lead actors, Kendrick and Jordan, have really strong voices which is needed as the songs can be quite demanding at times. I really liked the subtle repetition of music throughout as it brings to mind other moments from the film which relate to what you’re watching at the time. I also really liked the beautiful scenery and the way it was shot. One of my favourite moments was right at the end of the film (which I won’t go in to much detail so as not to spoil), as there is also visual repetition which is very cleverly done.
Overall, I give this an 8.0/10.0
Cathy Hiatt – Anna Kendrick
Jamie Wellerstein – Jeremy Jordan
Danica Scwartz – Tamara Mintz
Erica Weiss – Cassandra Inman
Handelman Twin 1 – Kate Meltzer
Handelman Twin 2 – Emma Meltzer
Heather Greenblatt – Bettina Bresnan
Annie Mincus – Charly Bivona
Karen Pincus – Alex Stebbins
Lisa Katz Lily – LaGravenese
Stacy Rosen – Betina Joly
Ellen Kaplan – Upa Inspace
Julie Silber – Lisa Herring
Janie Stein – Nina Ordman
Shapiro – Robert Immerman