I am a huge fan of musicals. I will admit that hands-down I am definitely, 100% biased going into La La Land in the first place. My boyfriend, David, however, is not a huge fan of musicals and therefore, not biased. Actually, going into the theatre, I was prepared for disappointment. My mother-in-law had me pretty convinced that I was going to see a huge, steaming pile of garbage. I was convinced that this was going to be one of those movies… you know, the critically-acclaimed, Oscar-nominated films that are totally pretentious pandering?
Boy, was I ever incorrect.
From the first minute, I was hooked. It was a visually stunning cinematic masterpiece, which is precisely what I went home and said to my Snapchat following (very small, probably didn’t care all that much). I won’t go so far as to say it’s a perfect film, but it is pretty much my perfect film. I’m a big fan of Ryan Gosling (some of my favourites being Blue Valentine, Lars and the Real Girl, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Fracture)… I’m a big fan of Emma Stone (Easy A, The Help, and Zombieland) and like I said, I’m a big fan of musicals (Les Miserables, West Side Story, Rent, Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors, Singin’ in the Rain, Cry-Baby, Hairspray… etc, etc, dot dot dot). One of my OTHER favourite things is a movie that makes full use of colour and La La Land does just that perfectly.
I’ve read some of the negative reviews and I just can’t take most of them seriously. Tossing around terms like “worst movie of the year” simply because musicals don’t appeal to you isn’t valid! The acting is wonderful and beyond believable… Emma Stone is phenomenal, even when she’s acting that she’s acting (act-ception). She plays Mia, an aspiring actress. Ryan Gosling is pretty typecast because he does typically play one character, I find, but that’s not a bad thing because he plays his character well. He plays Seb, a confident jazz musician that’s trying to revive a dying genre of music. The writing is good (I won’t say great, but it’s definitely good). The songs are lovely and while the lyrics are pretty simplistic, they are touching and evocative.
I think the opening scene, which is more typical of movie-musicals with people bursting out of their cars into choreographed song and dance, cajoles people into expecting something that isn’t really coming. La La Land is a musical, for sure, but it’s not filled to the brim with song and every piece of dialogue doesn’t take place within a song. If you go in expecting West Side Story, that’s just… not what the film is.
The film really blew me out of the water when it came to the visuals. It was beautiful. It was imaginative, the colours were perfect and could not have been an iota more perfect. It’s colourful and it’s vibrant and it’s everything wonderful about musicals and it does a great service to the genre of jazz music, which is fantastic because if you don’t like jazz, you’re just wrong.
The first thing I said when David and I left the theatre was, “If and when we get a 4K Bluray player, that is the movie I want on 4K,” and I stand by that. That is my review. That sums up my feelings for this film. I will definitely watch this movie again and again. And again.