Movie date: The Last Five Years
Our Mars versus Venus take on the film you need an opinion on
STARRING: Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Jordan
DIRECTOR: Richard LaGravenese
THE SKINNY: Marriage is never a bed of roses and this musical addresses just that. We see struggling actress Cathy (Kendrick) lamenting the end of her five-year relationship with successful writer Jamie (Jordan). The story about their whirlwind romance, marriage and its failure is told entirely through songs. Based on Tony-winning composer Jason Robert Brown's acclaimed musical of the same name.
THE CONSENSUS: For those into bittersweet love stories, this is a unique movie musical anchored by a strong leading pair.
I've never seen a movie quite like this.
Movie musicals tend to be sort of larger than life, and that's kind of the point.
People go to musicals for a SHOW - a huge cast in fanciful costumes singing and dancing their pants off amid lavish settings.
The Last Five Years isn't like that.
It's small. It's intimate.
Basically the two stars are the only people in the whole movie, with the supporting cast being more or less props.
Kendrick's wardrobe looks like it came from Forever 21.
The film seems like it was shot on location rather than sets. There are no big production numbers.
The song lyrics deal with the specific, everyday issues rather than try to make some sweeping statement.
There's no Let It Go here.
While most movie musicals tend to also have a lot of spoken dialogue, this one has almost none.
It starts with a song and the songs keep coming.
None of them are particularly catchy, but they're often witty and keep the story moving along nicely.
I found it really engaging.
Both Kendrick and Jordan are supertalented, and they attack the material like the seasoned pros they are.
I particularly like the scene where he sings to her about the book he's writing, and it turns out the main character is based on her.
Kendrick has proven herself to be a bona fide triple threat.
She puts her Broadway experience and amazing vocal pipes to good use here.
Her singing skills caught my attention in Pitch Perfect, and she wowed me again in Into The Woods.
Then there's the upcoming Pitch Perfect sequel.
I just hope she's not going to be pigeonholed in this movie musical genre.
She obviously has dramatic chops.
You can tell when she draws you into her story and you end up taking her side, even though the plot gives equal footage to both parties.
There's just something magnetic about her that captivates you entirely - even when she doesn't quite hit certain notes all that well.
Not to take anything away from Jordan, a Broadway actor, though.
Perhaps hers is the underdog story, or she's simply more appealing.
How the film unfolds is unconventional.
She tells her version of their love story at the bitter end of the relationship and then moves backwards. His unfolds chronologically and they both meet in the middle, where they exchange vows.
This is one of the rare films in which the romance is grounded in reality and happily-ever-afters are not for everyone. It's certainly not your paint-by-numbers Hollywood love story.