The Last Five Years

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Last Five Years Movie Poster Image
Musical adaptation has charming stars; some racy stuff.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite being about the demise of a marriage (due to physical separation and lack of emotional support), the movie has worthwhile messages about how insecurity and resentment can eat away at a loving relationship. Also, you can't avoid success to make someone else feel better about their own losses, and it's important to believe in yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Before their marriage goes south, Jamie and Cathy are supportive and encouraging of each other. They're each other's biggest fans for a while. But they also let each other down, and Jamie betrays Cathy by cheating on her while she's working away from home.


Sex scenes include one when Jamie and Cathy first meet; they're shown half-dressed tussling around on a bed (she's in just a bra, and he's shirtless as they're under the sheets). In another scene, they're in bed, and you see bare shoulders. And during one song late in the film, he commits adultery with various women, all of whom wear skimpy lingerie. Some song lyrics are suggestive.


A couple of uses of "s--t," plus one "f--k," "bitch," "hell," "damn," "ass," etc.


iPhone, MacBook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at parties and receptions. In a quick shot of Jamie's ex-girlfriends, one smokes a bong.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Five Years is based on an off-Broadway musical from 2002 in which a man and a woman take turns chronicling the demise of their relationship, with the twist being that Cathy (Anna Kendrick) tells her story from end to beginning, while Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) tells his side from beginning to end. Although the film is being marketed as a romance, it's obvious from the very beginning (Cathy's first song is about grieving the end of her marriage) that things don't work out for the couple. The language is occasionally strong, including "f--k" and "s--t," and there are a few scantily clad love scenes, some of which include adultery. Lyrics include a few suggestive phrases, and there's also some drinking and a quick shot of a woman using a bong.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byFathomT February 15, 2015

Exceptional movie-musical: some bad messages when it comes to dating

This movie is great. Partially based on composer Jason Robert Brown's first marriage, this tells the tale of Cathy & Jamie's 5 year relationsh... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byStargirl24601 April 9, 2020

Musical adapting at its finest

Such an interesting and compelling story told using a unique narrative device. The way songs are utilized is breathtaking and makes this one of the validly sung... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the beginning of THE LAST FIVE YEARS, a grief-stricken Cathy (Anna Kendrick) sings about the demise of her marriage to Jamie (Jeremy Jordan). In the next song, the story rewinds to Jamie falling into bed with Cathy for the first time. As in the original off-Broadway musical's stage performances, the movie alternates between the two main characters singing about their relationship, except that her story moves backward and his forward. Cathy is a struggling actress hoping to avoid yet another summer working in regional Ohio theater, while Jamie is a successful debut novelist whose book is toast of New York City publishing. As his star rises and her insecurities get the best of her, their sweet early romance turns into a challenging, resentful marriage.

Is it any good?

This is a heartbreakingly honest musical, with two charming actors in the lead roles. Fans of Jason Robert Brown's semi-autobiographical two-person musical (which in effect is two one-person shows with one duet in the middle and one at the end) will appreciate seeing it translated to the big screen. But those without any background knowledge of the musical may not immediately understand the overriding concept (that their stories are told on two different timelines) or why there's quite so much singing compared to dialogue.

Whether you like musicals or not, there are a few numbers that work remarkably well visually: "ShiksaGoddess" and "A Summer in Ohio" are both funny; Jamie goes through a list of his ex-girlfriends (whom the audience can see lined up) in the former, and in the latter, Cathy reveals the hilarity and embarrassment of working in an Ohio theater troupe with an eccentric cast of characters. Jordan and Kendrick excel at the humor, so those songs, in addition to Jamie's story-within-a-story "The Schmuel Song," are both visually appealing and fun to see performed. The sweet engagement duet "The Next Ten Minutes" is also done with loving attention using Manhattan as a backdrop. Director Richard LaGravenese clearly adores the musical, but despite the enthusiastic performances he coaches from his stars, there's not enough "between" the songs to make The Last Five Years appeal to those unfamiliar with the unique musical romance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of movie musicals. Although many musicals are family friendly, is The Last Five Years appropriate for younger audiences? Why, or why not?

  • Do you prefer musicals like this one, with more singing than dialogue, or do you prefer more story with your musicals? Do you think this would appeal to audiences who aren't already familiar with the musical?

  • Do you think the story favors one person over the other? What are its messages about romantic relationships?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate