The movie version of Jason Robert Brown's cult musical The Last Five Years is a love story with a twist. Only the characters, Cathy and Jamie, have lines, and they sing most of it (there's no real dialogue), and it's about their five-year relationship, as it goes from crazy in love to torn apart.
What's interesting (relax, this isn't a spoiler) is that they tell their stories in different directions: Cathy (Anna Kendrick) tells it backwards, from the day Jamie ends things; Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) starts with their first date.
Jordan is a Tony-nominated Broadway artist, so his casting makes sense. And if you've seen Pitch Perfect or Into The Woods, you'll know Kendrick can sing. The songs were performed live (like in Les Mis), so every emotion comes through. It's not perfect: her voice catches when she's upset, is occasionally shrill, but it's real.
Both actors give stellar performances, and are utterly convincing at their different ages and emotional states.
There's a lot of handheld camera work, and panning shots of New York city, which add to the surrealism of the story. It's a musical, yes, but it's far more than that. It's a poignant, beautiful, heart-wrenching examination of a relationship that just happens to be set to music.
Contains some strong language