La La Land
La La Land (2016) – Originally written January 2017
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
La La Land, is a strange movie. There, I’ve said it.
It seems to leave the viewer with a somewhat split attitude, and will leave you pondering long after you’ve seen it.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie which has inspired me to write any sort of feedback, but La La Land has done just that…
Depending on which review you read on IMDB, you’ll either find a 10/10 which tells you that it is a musical masterpiece, hankering back to the old cinematic masterpieces of Kelly, Astaire and co, or you’ll read a 1/10 which criticizes each and every little detail of the movie.
Let’s be honest, neither review is of help.
La La Land is a good movie. It has some great tunes, and for large parts leaves you inspired. There’s no denying you’ll come out of it feeling a bit of an urge to jump on top of the nearest car and dance.
However… it is not the masterpiece that is so widely reported.
There are times when both Gosling and Stone characters are infuriating, mildly pretentious and really rather whinny. Neither actor is perfectly cast, but simultaneously it is impossible not to be impressed by the fact that they’ve obviously trained hard at singing, dancing and (for Gosling) the piano.
It’s a strange film. It really is.
I want to love it. I want to come out singing the praises and looking back at it with the fondness of old school movies, or even the more recent Artist. However, I can’t. Something feels wrong about it. The cinematography is a bit off, the tunes don’t always catch you, the story-line isn’t always clear. It almost feels like the film tries too hard to be good. It knows there is potential, but it tries to force this ability, and subsequently lets itself down.
I enjoyed the Jazz, and there are scenes I look back on fondly. I want to watch it a second time, to give myself a greater understanding of it, but simultaneously I’ve not come out of the cinema and thought “I need to see that again.” This is a bad sign.
You’ll read a lot of praise for this film, you’ll read a lot of criticism. You’ll also read reviews a lot more detailed and knowledgeable than this one. I guess what I’m saying is that the film is not as good, or as bad as anyone says.
It’s a film you should see. You’ll need to make your mind up. Does it deserve the Oscars? Personally I don’t think so. Will it win them? Probably.
Give it a go, but go in with an open mind. The critics can’t help you with this one.