Cathy Hiatt (Anna Kendrick) and Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan) met five years ago and quickly fell head over heels. They moved in together, they got married, and they tried to support each other through the ups and downs, ebbs and flows of their lives and career paths. Now, alas, it is over, and while mistakes were made on both ends, there is little they could have done differently to salvage what was not meant to be. An irresistible cinematic adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's exceptional 2002 Off-Broadway musical, "The Last Five Years" deconstructs the intricacies of romantic relationships in a way that is creative, breathtaking and vital. It is clear from the opening song (Cathy's wistful ballad "Still Hurting") that the couple have decided to part ways, just as it is also obvious from the second (Jamie's punch-drunk "Shiksa Goddess") that their time together began in hope and idealism. This back-and-forth duet continues for the duration, with Jamie's scenes marking the sequential path of their relationship from his point of view, and Cathy's scenes traveling in reverse order from her perspective. The two of them ultimately crisscross for Jamie's marriage proposal, and what occurs on both sides of this momentous event paints a moving, seamlessly melodic portrait of two people who, for a fleeting handful of years, were better for having known and loved each other.
Broadway-veterans-turned-film-actors Anna Kendrick (2014's "Into the Woods") and Jeremy Jordan (2012's "Joyful Noise") are a faultless match as Cathy and Jamie, their dreamy chemistry so dynamic that it makes their highs feel rhapsodic and special and their lows sting like a slap to the soul. When they meet, Jamie is an aspiring writer and Cathy has dreams of hitting it big as an actress. The disparity of where their careers take them isn't a problem at first--she is happy for him when he earns a book deal and publishes his first work, and he vows to support her even as she strikes out at New York auditions and finds herself at summer stock in Ohio--but then, sadly, resentments, temptations and a communicative disconnect bleed into the equation.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review