Ah, La La Land.
I remember seeing trailers for La La Land many moons ago, and getting incredibly excited about Emma Stone. (I’m always quite excited about Emma Stone.) At first, I didn’t realise it was a musical, then I didn’t realise it was an old style musical. I am so glad it is.
If you’ve been here for a while, you might know that I love musicals and am a frequent theatre go-er. I love the magic of theatre but I also love the magic of cinema, especially musical cinema. In all of its many forms, from Disney to Les Mis to Pitch Perfect.
La La Land brings me all the same wonderful feelings I get when I watch the likes of Singin’ in the Rain and Shall We Dance with my grandmother on a sunny Saturday afternoon but also brings with it the whispers of something more modern. I find it really hard to describe.
La La Land is like an old musical, old Hollywood but it’s also not. It’s hard to miss the hints to old cinema, the yellow dress and the street lamp both things that recall scenes from Singin’ in the Rain, the tap dancing which could be from any Ginger and Astaire movie.
While it bathes us in old Hollywood nostalgia, it carries more realism than its ancestors – we have some heavy moments that would not have necessarily made it into the movies of old.
I know many people who have fallen head-over-heels for this film and I understand why, it underlines what it is to be a struggling artist and the artist in me feels it to my core. La La Land grew on me. I love it more the more I think about it. I enjoyed watching it, I enjoyed how I felt coming out of the cinema, but it takes some thinking to really hit home. Now, I am in love with it – I have been listening to the songs and singing them to myself in my head.
My other half, however, was not as enthused. And I get that too. This is partly why I find it hard to describe. It’s a great film but it depends entirely who you are. There are some people who simply won’t get it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Visually, it is stunning. My favourite parts happen in the prettiest scenes (the Planetarium and the epilogue, with a large helping of the dance near the lamp post). I love beautiful things and this film is a beautiful thing. The cinematography is everything I could have wanted and more. I want my dreams to look like this film, and I have a feeling it will inspire me for some time to come.
Vocally, they’re not Broadway or West End stars. For this film, that is perfect. Neither of their characters claim to be singers, neither of their characters are perfect. They are beautifully flawed and so are their songs. It is different and extraordinary and the score is to die for.
Please see this film. You might love it, you might hate it but you should definitely see it.