The Last Five Years (2015) ***1/2

Finally got around to watching the film version of The Last Five Years (2015).

It definitely could have been worse. Anna Kendrick is fine, but I tend to find her acting more enjoyable than I find her singing, and I didn't always love her acting in this one. She has some scenes that I think are very good, and it's possible that she actually did a great job all the way through and I just don't like Cathy in a way that's never been clear to me from listening to the 2002 cast recording.

Jeremy Jordan is obviously a talented singer (and an enjoyable ham—ask YouTube), but something felt lacking there, too. It definitely wasn't effort. This is not a performance that comes across as effortless—Jordan seems to stay turned up to somewhere around 11, and my vocal chords felt tired just watching him. But something about it character still fell flat. Again, this may just be because the music is far stronger than the characters are: At least in this film version, Cathy is cloying, and Jamie is the worst. Wait, sorry—Jaimie Wellerstein has always been the fucking worst. Always. The Worst. So maybe the charisma that Kendrick and Jordan are both capable of channeling just wasn't enough (or enough of the right kind) to overcome that.

That said, well-crafted musical is still well-crafted. I'd been lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that the film hadn't hooked me, so to speak, but I’m still a sucker for “The Next Ten Minutes,” “Nobody Needs to Know” is both well sung and well-staged (#JaimieIsStillTrash), and the parallel/opposing timelines mean that “Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You” can’t help but tug at the heartstrings.

I'm giving this one 3 1/2 stars.

Rating SCALE
5 *s = "WOW!"
4 *s = "Good"
3 *s = "Decent; fine; stupid and fun; meh; not good but not bad enough for just 2 stars"
2 *s = "Bad but not awful, or enjoyable despite its awfulness"
1 * = "The best part was the end, because then it was over."
no *s = "*Deep, pain-filled sigh*...I will never get that [insert running time here] of my life back."