The Last Five Years
The Last Five Years doesn’t make any apologies for what it is. If anything, it presents itself triumphantly before its audience shrieking: “I AM A MUSICAL. HEAR ME ROAR.” As such, it is shmaltzy, nostalgic, peppy and sentimental in all the ways that one might expect. Subtle nuances of a weakening relationship are hammered home through enthusiastically orchestrated songs. Some audience members evidently found this too much, while some broke down into hysterical giggles, and others opted to leave the viewing altogether.
They missed a trick, though. Although they might have felt that the film’s opening number was slapping them around the face with a lip-syncing, sorrowful wet fish, they couldn’t have failed to enjoy A Summer in Ohio; a song that openly pokes fun at the film’s genre in a delightfully charming and humorous way. They also missed the revelation of the plot’s delicate structuring – Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) sings his way from the beginning of their relationship through to its end, while Cathy (Anna Kendrick) sings herself backwards in time. This interweaving illustrates the fact that the protagonists’ understanding of their relationship is completely out of sync, making it obvious why it can’t possibly have succeeded.
Just as Jamie is the star of his own show, Jeremy Jordan is undoubtedly the star of this one. Kendrick gives a strong performance but is let down by the lack of diversity in her character’s emotional span; bitter and miserable gets a little tedious after a while. Jordan, on the other hand, is a perfect depiction of an age-old favourite stereotype: the successful artiste who lives his life constantly performing on his very own stage, often reluctant to let others share that stage with him.
The Last Five Years can only be accused of fulfilling the traits of its genre – melodrama, high emotion and an over-keeness to demonstrate sincerity. It does this, however, with some extremely catchy tunes, beautiful imagery and two undeniably excellent lead performances.
The Last Five Years is released nationwide on 17th April 2015.
Watch the trailer for The Last Five Years here: