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YMMV / The Last Five Years

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The very conceit of the musical deliberately invokes this, as both Jamie and Cathy each get to tell their side of the story, and each characters' actions are cast in a different light depending on who's doing the telling.
    • Nearly every problem that led to the breakup can be traced squarely back to Jamie, while nearly all attempts to save the marriage are on Cathy's part.
    • Does Jamie actually love Elise? Did he ever love Cathy, or is he just In Love with Love?
    • Did Cathy's jealousy drive Jamie to cheat, or was she Properly Paranoid all along?
  • Awesome Music: There's a reason Jason Robert Brown won a Drama Desk for both Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics for this show.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Jamie. Half the fanbase finds him to be flawed but charming and sympathetic, while the other half finds him to be a selfish, cowardly prick.
  • Broken Base: Want to start a Flame War in five seconds flat? Go to a group of fans of this show, and ask them, who was more at fault for the marriage breaking down? (Most of the fanbase agrees Cathy and Jamie both contributed, but who contributed more is an argument they've been having since the show opened.)
  • Funny Moments: "Shiksa Goddess" and "A Miracle Would Happen" for Jamie; "A Summer in Ohio" and the first 3/4ths of "Climbing Uphill" for Cathy.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • The conclusion of "The Schmuel Song", when Jamie gives Cathy her Christmas present.
    "Have I mentioned today how lucky I am to be in love with you?"
    • The end of "A Summer in Ohio", along with a CMOF: "Love, the midget, the stripper, Wayne the snake, and Mrs. Jamie Wellerstein—that's me!"
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    • "Would you share your life with me/for the next ten lifetimes/for a million summers/'til the world explodes!"
  • Jerkass Woobie: Those in the fandom who don't consider Jamie to be the sole person at fault in the breakdown of the relationship tend to see him as this. He cheats on his wife (with multiple women in the movie version) and is occasionally generally not very nice to her - but then Cathy is also shown to be controlling and paranoid (bordering on Clingy Jealous Girl status) and doesn't have nearly as many moments of explicitly supporting Jamie's career and telling him how much she loves him that Jamie has of supporting hers and telling her how much he loves her. In fact, several fans have theorised that the only reason Jamie tends to be seen as more unsympathetic throughout is simply because the very first thing we see is a broken-hearted Cathy singing about Jamie abandoning her.
  • Memetic Mutation: Cathy's line "I want you/And you/And nothing but you/Miles and piles of you," has caused many memes such as:
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    • When Cathy Hiatt wants to start a new craft, it changes to "I want glue/And glue/And nothing but glue"''
    • Cathy's line about Jamie loving Doritos has gotten some millage as well.
  • Moment of Awesome: "The Schmuel Song", a seven-minute, complete short story told through song, in which Jamie simultaneously proves his writing chops, his support of Cathy's dreams and his love for her.
  • Signature Song: "I Can Do Better Than That" is by far the most well-known song, and is a popular choice for mezzos and sopranos to sing in auditions, recitals, and concerts. (In fact, a lot of people find this show because an actress or singer they like did a cover of this song.) The first preview for the movie was a clip of the movie's version of the song, as if to assure the audience, "Don't worry, we're doing it right!"
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: While the film version is fine, one of the minor criticisms was the expansion of the orchestrations, losing the intimacy of some of the songs. For one thing they added a drummer, which was never present in the original show. They also added a second guitarist who doubles on electric guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. Having the ukulele replace the guitar in "A Summer in Ohio" is somewhat jarring as it loses the drive the Freddie Green-style jazz guitar comping had in the original. But on the other hand, they added more strings to "The Next Ten Minutes", making it fuller. They also kept the original orchestrations for the slower songs such as "Still Hurting", "If I Didn't Believe in You" and "Nobody Needs to Know".
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: While most of the fandom agrees that Jamie is likable and not without his sympathetic moments, many find it hard to feel too sorry for him, considering he's the one that cheated on Cathy and not the other way around. The movie has especially added to this, particularly the line where he tells Cathy she's "being crazy", which many cite as one of the main moments they lost sympathy for him. Also, in the film, he's shown cheating on Cathy with several women, as opposed to just one like the musical implied. This almost entirely removes any credence to the idea that he legitimately loves his mistress. The fact that he dumped Cathy via a letter, rather than face-to-face, doesn't help his case, either.
  • Win the Crowd: A lot of people were skeptical of a film version — many wondering if the show even could work as a film, and others worrying the two-person cast would make it hard to find actors strong enough to carry it. Then they announced the leads would be Broadway veterans Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, and, as if to further prove their point, they released a clip of Kendrick singing "I Can Do Better Than That." Cue a whole bunch of sighs of relief and people saying, "Oh, okay."
  • The Woobie: Both of the leads, for different reasons.
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