The Last Five Years starring Anna Kendrick trailer: How does it compare to the stage version?

Watch Anna Kendrick Aim for America’s Heart in the Trailer for The Last Five Years

Watch Anna Kendrick Aim for America’s Heart in the Trailer for The Last Five Years

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Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 8 2014 12:52 PM

Watch the Trailer for The Last Five Years, a Musical Aiming Straight for America’s Heart

lastfiveyears

Fans of The Last Five Years, the 2001 Jason Robert Brown musical with a cult following among theater nerds, have wondered what the film version would look like ever since its development was announced in 2012. The musical would not seem to lend itself easily to cinematic adaptation: On stage, it consists of alternating solos by two characters, the married couple Jamie and Cathy, who exist in different timeframes and encounter each other face-to-face in only one scene. The show’s simple but unconventional structure contributes to its appeal, but what feels appealing onstage can feel dull and sterile onscreen.

Now that Icon Films has released the first trailer for The Last Five Years movie, we have a first glimpse at how director Richard LaGravenese has stretched out his source material. The snippets of songs we hear in the trailer indicate that LaGravenese hasn’t touched the music and lyrics, but he has expanded the screenplay to include spoken dialogue, of which there’s practically none in the sung-through stage version. Most jarringly—and excitingly—The Last Five Year’s trailer suggests that there will be plenty of scenes where Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) and Cathy (Anna Kendrick) interact with each other: We see them embrace, hold hands, fall into bed with each other, and even Skype (an indication that the film takes place in the present day rather than 2001). This departure from the source material, where the couple’s passion for each other is implied but not seen, suggests that The Last Five Years will be potentially even more heartbreaking than the stage version.

L.V. Anderson is a former Slate associate editor.