PLOT An adaptation of the stage musical detailing the five-year romance between struggling actress Cathy (Kendrick) and successful writer Jamie (Jordan), with Cathy’s story told counter-chronologically.
A musical with barely any spoken dialogue is not for everyone, but in adapting Jason Robert Brown’s hit stage musical, writer-director LaGravenese does his best to make Cathy and Jamie’s bittersweet story irresistible, aided considerably by the casting of Kendrick. The structure is gimmicky (Jamie’s story is linear, Cathy’s unfolds in reverse) and the songs will curl the toes of anyone not comfortable with the idea of a feature-length Girls-style relationship tale sung in rhyming verse. But if you’re a Kendrick fan – and legislation is currently pending making that mandatory – this should do nicely until Pitch Perfect 2 comes along.
VERDICT If you don’t have a high tolerance for Sondheim-style sung dialogue, it will feel like it lasts five years. But fans of show tunes and, especially, Anna Kendrick, may need to keep the smelling salts handy in case of involuntary swooning. ★★★