The Coincidental Critic

Exploring the art of storytelling.

The Heartbreaking Last Five Years (SPOILERS)


I am a huge fan of both Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.  They have amazing voices.  The two of them singing together in a musical is like something out of my dreams, so of course I had to watch “The Last Five Years.”

Kendrick (Cathy) and Jordan (Jamie) both gave amazing performances.  I was impressed with how much emotion they put into their singing and acting.  I could see their characters’ lust, frustration, and heartbreak.

The costumes had a great influence in “The Last Five Years;” they helped to tell the story.  First off, I loved Cathy’s wardrobe.  It added to the visual aesthetic.  I wanted all of Cathy’s clothes.  Jamie’s wardrobe on the other hand, changed as time progressed.  In the beginning of the relationship, he dressed more casual.  He wore t-shirts and plaid shirts.  He had messy hair.  As time went on, he cleaned up.  He parted his hair.  He wore sweaters and suits.  His clothing became darker overtime, mirroring his loss of happiness.

The backdrop to “The Last Five Years” was beautiful shots of sunny New York City, Central Park, and a peaceful Ohio lake.  The sunshine, flowers, and greenery created a paradise.  It was visually pleasing and a harsh contrast to the failing marriage.

As time went on, the cinematography darkened, illustrating the increase in tension in the relationship.

I loved the music and lyrics in “The Last Five Years.”  The songs were metaphorically deep, yet delicate and beautiful.

My favorite song was “Climbing Uphill.”  While auditioning for a musical, Cathy sang about every little thought that passed through her mind.  She forced a smile as she tried to hide her anxiety, hopelessness, and unease.  It was expertly written and acted.

I love how the song “Nobody Needs To Know” was filmed.  Jamie woke up with a woman beside him.  He sang to her, telling her she was an angel.  She was facing away from us, so we could only see the back of her head.  Immediately, I assumed it was Cathy.  Then Jamie sang, “We should get up, kid.  Cathy is waiting,” and the woman turned over.  It wasn’t Cathy.  My jaw dropped.  Director Richard LaGravenese’s approach to this scene increased the severity of Jamie’s betrayal.

I love how the last scene of “The Last Five Years” incorporated the ending and the beginning.  At the beginning of the relationship, Cathy stood outside the apartment.  She was cloaked in a ray of sunshine.  In the same scene, Jamie sat inside the apartment in darkness.  He was writing his breakup letter to Cathy.  We could see both of them through the window.  This juxtaposition of past and present was intense, emphasizing the dramatic change in their relationship.

The most confusing part of “The Last Five Years” was the timeline.  Cathy’s story started at the end of the relationship and moved backward, while Jamie’s story started at the beginning of the relationship and moved forward.  Fortunately, I was warned of this unconventional timeline before watching the film, so I understood how the scenes were moving in time.  However, at the start of each scene, I had to really think about where we were in time.  It was still a bit difficult to follow.

“The Last Five Years” was an impressive work of art.  I loved the set, costumes, songs, and acting.  While it was entertaining, I don’t know if I could ever watch this film again.  It was almost too heartbreaking.

One comment on “The Heartbreaking Last Five Years (SPOILERS)

  1. documentzoe
    February 18, 2016

    I watched this film as a fan of both Anna Knedrick and musicals and I too thought it was a great film but incredibly heart breaking! I absolutely loved the costumes I thought they worked so well with the emotions and thoughts of both Cathy and Jamie. I, unlike you, was not warned about the timeline of the story with it jumping back and forth but managed to get the idea fairly quickly, I thought it was quite similar to 500 days of summer! Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable film which I will watch again (and will probably cry over again) and thought your review was really good!

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2016 by in Movie and tagged , , , , , , , .
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