After respectable musical efforts in awful films (Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods), Anna Kendrick takes a nice leap forward in The Last Five Years, a film adaptation of the off-Broadway musical.
She plays Cathy, a woman we see singing a mournful post breakup song as the film begins. Her husband, newly famous writer Jamie (Jeremy Jordan), has just left her for superstardom and multiple girlfriends. The film then flashes back to show moments over the last five years of their lives, with almost all of the dialogue being sung.
The two stars, especially Kendrick, do much of their singing live. The music itself isn’t all that memorable, but it’s not bad, and it does require Kendrick and Jordan to often use the upper register. They both have impressive pipes.
Unfortunately, the Jamie character drags the film down a bit; he’s a bland, reprehensible prick. That could work fine, but he’s portrayed sympathetically instead of as the asshole he is. The script should have called for more humor and less sap. Still, the technical aspects of the movie are exemplary.
The movie, directed by Richard LaGravenese, was shot in about three weeks on a minuscule budget, yet it still winds up being a competent exercise in musical theater. In the end, it shows that Kendrick is the real deal.
The Last Five Years is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.