The Last Five Years


Claire Mulcahy, Reporter

Hollywood and Broadway have been cranking out typical love stories forever, whether they are sad love stories, unrequited love stories, or happily-ever-after love stories, but the newest edition to the movie-musical family is a fresh concept on a sad love story.

Last month, Anna Kendrick’s new movie, The Last Five Years, premiered. The movie follows Cathy (Kendrick), a struggling actress, as she recounts her five-year relationship with Jamie, a New York author, from the end to the beginning. Simultaneously, Jamie (Jordan) is telling his side of the story from beginning to end.

This movie is based on a pop opera of the same name. The thing that gives such a good name to the musical is that each song is sung by either Cathy or Jamie. In the musical, whoever is singing the song is on stage alone. In the movie, Cathy and Jamie are in all of the scenes together, but because of lighting effects and who is singing you can tell whose perspective it is in and where in the relationship they are.

There is a point in time where their stories meet exactly in the middle of their relationship and they sing a song together, then the story continues on in the same fashion as before. At the end, they meet one more time to sing a song together, where they are both saying goodbye at different points in the relationship, with the goodbyes containing two different meanings.

The lighting was a key factor in being able to understand the mood and the order of the movie. For the scenes towards the end of the relationship, the lighting is very dark and dismal, but in the scenes at the beginning of the relationship, the lighting is very bright and vibrant. This was one of my favorite aspects of the movie. Since Kendrick is telling the story from the end to the beginning, all of her scenes are lit very dully for the first half of the movie and then switches, and with Jordan’s character telling from beginning to end, his scene lighting does the exact opposite.

Everyone knows Kendrick from Pitch Perfect and some may know her from the newest movie musical Into the Woods. She now has become the face of movie musicals. I loved her in Pitch Perfect, and I thought she was alright in Into the Woods, but I think that she definitely a good choice for this movie. Her voice isn’t the strongest, but overall her performance was very good and entertaining.

Jordan, who would most likely be known for his role on the TV show Smash, is a Broadway star with many credits. I think that he definitely was beneficial to the movie because of his talent and musical experience. Their chemistry on screen was very believable and both played the parts very well.

This was an interesting musical to turn into a movie, only because of the way the stage production is done, where there is only one person on stage at a time, so I think that they definitely had to get creative with figuring out how to keep it pretty true to the script, but also how to incorporate other people into each scene and song.

The music is absolutely beautiful. Jason Robert Brown, a renowned composer, wrote the music and lyrics for the stage production and allowed it to be transferred to the screen. For the most part, the whole score is on the piano, with some string instruments here and there, but it’s just plain and simple otherwise. My favorite part about the music is that it is a mix of pop, jazz, classical, klezmer, latin, rock, and folk.

I love this whole score, but a few standout songs are Still Hurting, which is the opening song sung by Cathy, Moving Too Fast, which is sung by Jamie when he and Cathy are moving in together, Climbing Uphill, which is sung by Cathy to her father complaining about all the rejection, and Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You, which is the final song sung by both Cathy and Jamie where Cathy is saying goodbye until tomorrow, but Jamie is saying goodbye forever.

Overall, I think that this movie was fairly good. I would only recommend it if the story, characters, actors, or composer sound intriguing to you.This movie probably isn’t one for everyone, but the story itself is beautiful and really interesting, so if you want to experience something different, I would recommend this movie.



Available in select theaters or On Demand.