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The Last Five Years (2014)

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A struggling actress and her novelist lover each illustrate the struggle and deconstruction of their love affair.

Writers:

Jason Robert Brown (based on the musical play by), Richard LaGravenese (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna Kendrick ... Cathy Hiatt
Jeremy Jordan ... Jamie Wellerstein
Tamara Mintz Tamara Mintz ... Danica Schwartz
Cassandra Inman Cassandra Inman ... Erica Weiss
Kate Meltzer Kate Meltzer ... Handelman Twin #1
Emma Meltzer Emma Meltzer ... Handelman Twin #2
Bettina Bresnan ... Heather Greenblatt
Charly Bivona ... Annie Mincus
Alex Stebbins Alex Stebbins ... Karen Pincus
Lily LaGravenese Lily LaGravenese ... Lisa Katz
Betina Joly Betina Joly ... Stacy Rosen (as Bettina Joly)
Upa Inspace Upa Inspace ... Ellen Kaplan
Lisa Herring Lisa Herring ... Julie Silber
Nina Ordman Nina Ordman ... Janie Stein
Robert Immerman Robert Immerman ... Shapiro (as Bob Immerman)
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Storyline

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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There are two sides to every love story


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual material, brief strong language and a drug image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 2015 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Five Years See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,677, 20 February 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$137,945, 1 March 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original version of "Climbing Uphill", Cathy sings, "Why am I working so hard? These are the people who cast Linda Blair in a musical." in reference to Blair's one-time stint playing Rizzo in the 1994 Broadway revival of "Grease". Here she sings, "These are the people who cast Russell Crowe in a musical" in reference to Crowe's panned performance as Javert in the film version of Les Misérables (2012). Jason Robert Brown confesses he is not sure who made the change, possibly crediting it to Anna Kendrick. See more »

Goofs

When Cathy is singing "Goodbye Until Tomorrow" we are to believe that it is 2008. The license plate of the car outside of her apartment is the current NY state gold and blue design, which wasn't put into effect until 2010. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cathy Hiatt: [singing] Jamie is over and Jamie is gone. / Jamie's decided it's time to move on. / Jamie has new dreams he's building upon. / And I'm still hurting.
See more »

Connections

References Leave It to Beaver (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You
Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Performed by Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This movie will appeal to viewers who already adore musicals but will not win over any new fans to the genre.
23 February 2015 | by wpedmonsonSee all my reviews

Part of my resolution to have a movie review blog was to watch movies I wouldn't otherwise see, and "The Last Five Years" is not a movie I would've seen in theaters but I might have picked it up on DVD or if it was Netflix. I'm not a hater of musicals in the least, and I'm not one of those who doesn't like books or musicals turned into movies, but this movie is one reason why those people exist and why it's easy to criticize the adaptation.

The movie tells the story of a young Jewish novelist and a struggling actress he falls in love with. The plot and characters have an obvious appeal to people in musical theater, something I've learned to expect in any modern musical similar to how novelists like to have their main characters be novelists or bookstore owners (or both). The annoying part of this movie is that it's all the movie is. If I had to sum up the movie it'd be two people in creative lines of work with varying success having passionate, almost over-the-top duets. And that's the entire movie. And it's all sung (which I'm not outright against since it worked so well in "Umbrellas of Cherbourg").

Jamie is the younger, more successful, more arrogant novelist in the relationship while Cathy seems to have more charm and personability though she can't seem to get a break in her career. Questions of resentment and female independence in her career (and the comments seem to be just token nods) arise for moments though it sinks back down in the quicksand of necking that the two characters seem to do way too much.

What's innovative about how the story is told, though (and I see this as one of two of the movie's redeeming aspects) is that the plot moves in two directions, one from the beginning with Cathy's memories of their marriage, and the other where Jamie's memories are told from the beginning. Something's to be said for how men and women remember relationships different, what they saw as the best moments and what they saw as the worst. The film does play favorites with Cathy, though which is no surprise given the history of plots in musical theater and their primary demographic.

The second strong part of this movie is Anna Kendrick's performance. I was dubious at first but she carries herself well and has more nuance in her character portrayal than her male co-lead. Her voice is good, not great, and her acting ability supplements her singing very well.

The main problem with this movie is tone. Yes, it's a rehashing of a romance from memory from two perspectives, but it is all singing, and all centered directly around romance depicted in a small set of actions between two actors. It's the false idea that anything worth telling about a relationship must be the romantic interactions, as if there wasn't anything else worth recalling about two people being in love. And by romantic interplay I mean talking through transitional points in the relationship, fights about expectations and communication, and physicality (which may seem broad but it doesn't come across as such in the movie). That's 99% of the movie and everything the characters do revolves around that strong theme. The problem is that it's too strong of a seasoning. It's where a spice becomes the meat and you miss the stable taste of flesh rather than a watery stock or sprinkling of flavor. It's like George Lucas yelling "faster and more intense" to his actors in the first Star Wars movie without any further direction. I imagine the director doing a similar thing with the two leads in this, "passionate and more in love" which inevitably will lead to an overbearing depiction of the same thing we've seen throughout the movie. This movie will appeal to viewers who already adore musicals but will not win over any new fans to the genre.


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