The story opens with a heartbroken Cathy looking back on what appears to be a failed relationship. We jump back to five years earlier, when she and Jamie had first met. The Jewish Jamie is dating outside of his heritage for the first time (which we hear about in “Shiksa Goddess”). Both Kendrick and Jordan anchor the film with strong performances. Kendrick, in particular, shines as she clearly outlines the downward progression Cathy follows as she watches Jamie go from being an unknown wannabe author to a celebrated novelist. Cathy is swept up in the wake of Jamie’s success, slowly realizing she’s being left behind.
There’s a lot of singing in The Last Five Years, in fact most of the story is told via lyrics. And there are no really noteworthy supporting characters; Kendrick and Jordan carry the vast majority of the picture. While there aren’t any specific songs that really stand out as showpieces, the song score as a whole does a great job of incorporating a wide range of emotions. Kendrick and Jordan have quite a bit of emoting to do via the songs, something they appear to do effortlessly. Colloquialisms and profanity are built right into the lyrics, lending them a believable, down-to-Earth feel.
Sufficiently sturdy audio/visual specs make Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray easy to enjoy. The cinematography (by Steven Meizler) looks reasonably sharp. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1, with the most prominent element being the near-constant music. Other than the appropriately upfront and centered vocals, there’s just a variety of atmospheric audio elements to fill out the surround spectrum.
Pretty slim supplements accompany The Last Five Years. Aside from “Sing-Along Subtitles,” all we get is a four-minute “Conversation with Composer/Lyricist Jason Robert Brown.”
The Last Five Years is easy to recommend to fans of Anna Kendrick or Broadway star Jeremy Jordan (best known in the movie world for his role in 2012’s Joyful Noise). Visit the official website for more info.