My two favorite Off Broadway musicals of all time have both now made the trek to movie screens. Hedwig and the Angry Inch which I saw thrice in 1999 right after moving to NYC became an instant cult classic in film form thanks to its brilliant creator / star / writer John Cameron Mitchell. He just returned to the role on Broadway (though he's out for a bit after an injury so Michael C Hall is back to fill in for him). The second The Last Five Years took much longer. I saw it during the last week of its original run (whew!) in 2002 and 13 years later it's on screens with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan as the troubled couple Cathy and Jamie who can't quite connect (illustrated narratively by his story moving forward while hers moves backwards through the relationship. It's not the unqualified success that Hedwig was but if you love the movie musical genre you really need to see it because it's a really unique beast.
Radius TWC is distributing which means there aren't many theaters playing it yet beyond Los Angeles, New York and Toronto but it's also available On Demand. On Oscar weekend it expands to several more cities. I'd love to hear from any TFE readers who see it. It's a very unusual musical to adapt since the concept is very theatrical and it's intimate whereas most movie musicals are big glitzy things. Wisely they cast two actors who can sing the hell out of its tremendously satisfying song score.
Two key blog posts in case you missed them...
Anna Kendrick Interview
Nathaniel: "Summer in Ohio"... I LOVE this version.
Anna Kendrick: I'm so glad. It was a ton of work. In the show she's writing a letter but I thought when I'm away from my boyfriend we Skype. And Cathy in that number is not just recounting her day, she's performing for Jamie because even at the beginning of their marriage she’s like “I have to keep him interested. I have to keep him in love with me”... [Read the Rest]
Toronto Film Festival Review
The first thing you see in The Last Five Years is a white brownstone. It looks almost like a ghost in the middle of a New York City block. As the notes begin to play, the camera drifts upwards to peer into windows and search for its movie star within them. No, that's not her. Not her either. Ah, there she is. Anna Kendrick sings the entirety of "Still Hurting", moping around a dark apartment, crying. The camera moves around her (in strange patterns) and her voice is just beautiful. And then I realize I've forgotten to breathe and am gripping my armrest. [Read the Rest]