How Is 'The Last Five Years' Movie Different From The Musical? The Changes Are Surprising

If you were lucky enough to see The Last Five Years off-Broadway in 2002 or in its 2013 revival, you know that the cult musical stood out for its incredible solo performances. In the original staging, Jamie and Cathy only appear in scenes together twice — during their proposal and wedding in "The Next Ten Minutes" and the final song, "Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You" — and for the rest of the 12 musical numbers, they are alone onstage to show each character's perspective. When The Last Five Years was adapted into a movie starring Anna Kendrick (Cathy) and Jeremy Jordan (Jamie), the only major change from the musical was having both stars onscreen at the same time in every scene. This was a great update to the show, allowing viewers to see both sides of the story at once as Cathy's timeline goes backwards from breakup to their first date and Jamie's tracks the beginning of their relationship to when they part ways five years later.

The music went virtually unchanged, save for a few updated lyrics, composer Jason Robert Brown told The Hollywood Reporter. He had to edit quite a bit of swearing to get a PG-13 rating, like taking F-bombs out of "See I'm Smiling" and editing "f—k her" to "touch her" in "A Miracle Would Happen/When You Come Home to Me." Three other fun changes? Instead of comparing an ex to Tom Cruise in "I Can Do Better Than That," Cathy describes him as someone with "very well-placed tattoos" since people think of Cruise as a Scientologist instead of a sexy actor; Borders is changed to Target in "A Summer in Ohio" after the book chain closed; and there's an added dig at Russell Crowe in "Climbing Uphill." Neither Brown nor Kendrick will take credit for the line, "these are the people who cast Russell Crowe in a musical" in case the actor comes to hunt one of them down, Brown jokes.

To listen for all these changes, check out The Last Five Years movie soundtrack and watch the film, available On Demand and in select theaters Feb. 13.

Image: RADiUS-TWC

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