The Last 5 Years by Tony award winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown is a musical deconstruction of a love affair and a marriage taking place over a five year period. Jamie Wellerstein is a young, talented up and coming Jewish novelist who falls in love with Cathy Hiatt, a Shiksa Goddess struggling actress. Their story is told almost entirely through songs using an intercutting time line device; all of Cathy’s songs begin at the end of their marriage and move backwards in time to the beginning of their love affair while Jamie’s songs start at the beginning of their affair and move forward to the end of their marriage. They meet in the center when Jamie proposes.
User Reviews: Struggling dancer Cathy (Anna Kendrick) sees her whirlwind marriage start fall apart as her new husband’s writing career takes off ahead of hers.
The pair tell their story through song, Cathy’s beginning at the end and working backwards towards happier times early in their relationship, whereas the more level/pig-headed Jeremy does just the opposite, running away from what brought them together to start with and focusing on current problems.
It is more gritty and real than most fluffy rom-coms but viewers not au fait with musical theatre will feel that depth is lost in the all-singing narrative style. If you were left bereft by the silence of The Artist and couldn’t stand the spontaneous outbursts of Moulin Rouge, then steer well clear of this.
Straight-up rom-com fans won’t necessarily appreciate The Last Five Years either, it’s pitched equally at Broadway lovers (it’s based on a Broadway musical) and/or low-budget indie flick fans and even then, the two styles may not sit well together for you.
Neither of our leads have pleasantly bland pop voices either, both are classically trained vocal powerhouses-again, not everyone’s cup of tea. The Last Five Years earns three stars, however, as it does what it wanted to do fairly well, it’s all a question of personal taste.