Jamie sings, “Share your life with me for the next ten minutes.” That is all relationships are, a series of ten minutes that can be full of joy, sadness, fear, and anger. The film The Last Five Years takes you on a journey through a relationship that sees ups, downs, and sideway turns. It brings you into the heads of the characters Cathy (Anna Kendricks) and Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) as they explore, savior, and experience love. Cathy and Jamie’s relationship always seemed unbalance from the beginning. Cathy, a struggling actress trying to hold on to the man that she fell in love with, and Jamie, a successful author at twenty-three always wanting more than what he had. He watches his career soar as Cathy just follows behind. Cathy sings, “…and then he smiles and nothing else makes sense…” The song ends as you see her walking behind him, following his lead. It was never a partnership. In it together, side by side. She always followed in his success instead of focusing on her career, her dream.
I question, can you have it all? They were twenty-three. Babies starting out on their career paths. Trying to have it all – the successful relationship, the marriage, and the career. The ability that a person has to turn your whole world upside down with one word, one letter, one song is a heartbreak everyone has been through. You can start to question yourself worth when you are with someone who is more successful than you. You can have feeling of neglect no matter how many times the successful person is supportive of your dreams and your aspirations. You can live in your failures instead of taking your time to find the right path needed to get you to your goals. Jamie gives Cathy a watch and at the end of the song he says “take your time.” Can you take your time when everything else around you is moving fast? When your husband is on a different page, a different chapter, or a different book? Can you be supportive of his dreams when he stopped being supportive of yours?
The hour and thirty minute film bounced back and fourth between different parts of the last five years of their relationship. Between the excitement and lust you have when you first connect with someone. To the anger and bitterness you can have towards someone when they say something like “I will not lose because you can’t win.” Those words are hurtful and were said out of anger, but then did Jamie ever really believe in Cathy? Had he become so frustrated that he needed to cheat on her? He said:
“Little more glue every time that it breaks
Perfectly balanced, and then I start making
Conscious, deliberate mistakes”
Mistakes. Are they mistakes if you are doing them consciously or deliberately? If they are mistakes wouldn’t you confess and try to work it out. The blame for a relationship not working is not one person’s fault or the other. It takes two people to have a relationship and you either want it or you don’t. The Last Five Years shows how if it is always one sided it is never going to work. It will fall apart like a flower losing its pedals. In the words of Jason Robert Brown, if a successful relationship is to happen the thought process has to be:
“I will never be complete
I will never be alive
I will never change the world
Until I do”