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LA LA LAND - Movie Review
2pm, Tuesday, sometime in January, and I'm surrounded by old people. Everywhere. OAPs as far as the eye can see, and I'm the only under 40 in there. But damn it, my camp heart loves musicals, and this is by the guy who made Whiplash. God damn Whiplash. So pass me the Werther's Originals, I'm ready.
I enjoyed this film on multitudes I think a lot of people would probably scoff at. It's about cliche bleeding heart artists trying to make it in modern day LA for Christ sake... and yet. wow. I'm a full blown romantic idiot, I guess?
I am a Youtuber, which is a passion built entirely on pipe dreams, but damn it if this film didn't speak to me on a personal level. I'm neither an actress nor a jazz enthusiast, but this film is all about the dream of making it, compromise, and not only battling with reality, but the relentless self doubt alongside it.
'I'm an idiot aren't I?'
'This is a giant waste of time...'
These aren't quotes from the film, they're my own toned down thoughts (I'm a lot nastier to myself than I'd like to admit) that only a narcissist could ever bat away so easily, and this film reflects those thoughts constantly. Mia (Emma Stone) especially represents this and is not only the strongest part of the film, but by far the most relatable to me. There are constant moments where the film stamps on her dreams and punishes her for them, in a way that really knocks the glamour out of LA. It looks like a love letter to Hollywood, but doesn't read like it.
This is opposed to Seb (Ryan Gosling) who represents the compromise between dreams and reality. Not that I don't relate to that of course, it's the essential other side of the coin, but Gosling just didn't have half the charm that Stone did. He was fine, but next to his on screen counterpart he couldn't bring it in the same way.
Now you might thinking that you still have no idea of how musical it is, or what the tone is, or why this is Oscar worthy beyond it appealing to creatives and the Hollywood industry. It definitely does its share of pandering and fan service for that crowd (there's probably more Singin' in the Rain references than songs) but I don't see it as a film made for that specific someone in the crowd. It's a film by creatives for themselves. It's about the artist's struggle, their heart break and earnest joy in pursuing their passion. It takes a glamourised cliche and shows it for what it really is, a bittersweet tragedy of love and naivety.
Saying all that, it needs more songs. There's only so many times I can replay Another Day of Sun before it eventually grows old (that's not happened yet). Yes the singing isn't Broadway level but I err on the side of finding it charming. If youre not into musicals or would laugh at someone for going to film school, you'd probably hate this film. And that's fine.
Despite its narrow appeal, it's dip in pacing around the film's middle and it not being as good as Whiplash; I love this film SO MUCH. It makes me want to throw all cynicism for anything out of the window forever. It's revealed me to be an empassioned romantic and I don't care.
Yes I'm going to review Lego Batman and John Wick 2 on here. No I'm not going to see Fifty Shades Darker fuck you OTHER THOUGHTS ABOUT LA LA LAND
- What an ending! Still not better than Whiplash, but it's not like the bar is low or anything
- I nearly cried like, 3 times in this film, and that's RARE.
- I am quite believably attracted to Emma Stone on so many levels.
- I still don't give a fuck about jazz, but it's more about seeing the frustration in someone passionate about something not be understood by anyone else. I still don't care for Ryan Goslings character at all (this and the Emma Stone point is how, despite writing such a queer review, you can tell I'm not gay)
- JK Simmons has the best cameo
- I can't stop playing the soundtrack
- My parents walked out of it halfway through. My dad hates jazz and my mum laughed at them dancing in the sky... I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed.
- I will mention that my dad was kinda enjoying the film but left because of my mum. Saying all that my dad hates jazz and drumming, yet LOVED whiplash. I think that says a lot about the staying power of Whiplash over this really
- I've been to LA, and it's a desperate and dirty urban sprawl. I'm glad this movie didn't ignore that.