Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Last Five Years stage musical comes to the big screen

PG-13, 1 hour, 34 minutes

Grade: A-

In a Nutshell:  Mix these 3 things together for a tasty film: passion, pain, Anna Kendrick.   Based on the popular off-Broadway stage musical (by Jason Robert Brown), this deconstructed love story musical flew under the radar for most movie goers. 

With hardly any dialogue, Anna Kendrick fans will be pleased to hear her sing throughout the entire movie.   The story is cleverly told as she sings the story from the end, going backwards and Jamie, played by Jeremy Jordan (I thought he was great in TV's "Smash") sings their love story from the beginning in chronological order.  (It's less confusing if you know that ahead of time.)

Uplifting Theme:
The Last Five Years was inspired by Jason Robert Brown's failed marriage.  It doesn't present a rose-colored view of romance, but a realistic look into how love is worth working for.

Things I liked:
·        I really enjoy Anna Kendrick and am thrilled that she is being featured in so many musicals lately.   I can’t wait to hear her again in Pitch Perfect 2.  It hits theaters on May 15, 2015.  
·        Jeremy seemed to start out slowly, but then really bloomed.  His Jewish accent during “The Schmuel Song" was hilarious.  Anna Kendrick's funny comments during the song are entirely ad lib.
      It feels like an Indie musical on a small budget, which fits the tale of two struggling artists living in New York City.
      I got a kick out of the subtle and satirical humor which deserve the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics the stage show received back in 2002, when it first opened off Broadway.
      The screen adaptation by Richard LaGravenese (he also did P.S. I Love You ), keeps the two stars on screen together most of the time, as opposed to the stage production where the characters sing solo during most of the show.
     The blonder Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan are so engaging that you don't miss not having a big ensemble cast.  They have both been previously nominated for Tony awards, Anna being the second youngest ever to do so.

Things I didn’t like:
·        It’s a bit depressing to know at the very beginning that their relationship fails when Cathy sings about their break-up.

Funny lines
·        “Why am I working so hard?  These are the people who cast Russell Crowe in a musical.”  - Cathy

Interesting lines:
·        “You are the story I should write.” – Jamie
·        “If I didn’t believe in you, I couldn’t have loved you at all.” - Jamie

Tips for Parents:  Some profanity, 1 F-bomb,  people in underwear and bed scenes.

Other musicals with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan:

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