REVIEW: La La Land

“I hate jazz,” says Emma Stone’s aspiring actress Mia to jazz musician Seb (Ryan Gosling) at the start of their relationship in La La Land. She feels it’s only right and proper to get that out the way pronto.

Well I should say upfront that I had a nightmare screening and I struggled to really give the movie a proper once-over.

And when I go and see a movie so hyped, I go in hoping I’m going to like it, that I’m going to ‘get’ it. To make it worse, La La Land refers back to many of the Golden Hollywood movie musicals I’ve never seen.

If I close my eyes, what are the things I was actually able to take away from the movie? The elegance and colour of Stone’s costumes. She’s willowy and poised, and looks like a dancer.

The dance isn’t complicated – the waltz and tap feel very impromptu and simple. I’ve seen La La Land described as big and bombastic, but apart from the opener – ‘Another Day of Sun’ – it doesn’t have the musical knockout numbers I was expecting.

I’ve listened to the soundtrack since (it was hard to hear in the theatre), and ‘City of Stars’ is sweet and mournful, and ‘Planetarium’ from Justin Hurwitz’s score made my heart skip.

Verdict: Did the ending leave me in tears yearning for Seb and Mia to have taken a different path together? Well, if I played a game of “snog, marry, kill” with Mia’s three men, Gosling would get the shove no questions asked, because I’ve never got the Gosling mania. So no. Seb and Mia are two ambitious creatives who help each other get to where they belong. It’s the perfect ending.

Looking forward to my second viewing of this one! Lx

7 thoughts on “REVIEW: La La Land

  1. Pingback: REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast | lindsay acland

  2. CineMuseFilms

    I think you sum it up well. It is not a masterpiece, just a brillaintly conceived and executed nostaglia musical that celebrates Hollywood like a deity. Like so many things in cinema, its all about the context. Last year’s Oscar Spotlight was many steps short of a masterpiece but child sex abuse was the hot political issue around the globe so it got the gong. Politics can never be isolated from cultural prestige, and that is what the Oscars are about.

  3. Robin Write

    Yeah the movie has some fine moments, well executed, buzzy and energetic, but it won’t make my top 10. The awards season “professionals” latch onto the same films like sheep. La La Land is just one tiny example how views need to be broadened. There are so many films people are not talking about or not getting coverage.

    1. Lindsay Acland Post author

      In the British press, it’s basically a masterpiece, and it did seem like it made every movie blogger’s Top 10 list for 2016…But I felt quite ‘off’ after seeing it and I had to really think hard in order to say something good about it. All I could see were problems. Perhaps it was just because of all the grief in the screening, so I’ll go and see it again and see how I feel.


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