So for this week’s date night, I finally got my chance to see La La Land after WEEKS of anxiously waiting and I can honestly say, it didn’t disappoint in any way, shape, or form…
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a sucker for a musical. Raised on the stage, dancing from a young age, it’s impossible not admire those dancing and singing on stage and on screen. So when I heard about La La Land, I was both over-the-moon and incredibly apprehensive. Finally, a jazz musical production in Hollywood again. It was popping up at the award shows with a buzz surrounding it and had star quality pumped into it. Yet the underlying worry that it could all be for nothing, would it ever live up to the classics? However, having listened to the soundtrack a handful of times, I held out hope and settled into my seat, and all I can remember is feeling a great smile take over my face from the very broadway-feeling beginning.
You look at men like Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire and wonder what could Ryan Gosling possibly have in relation to the greats, but wow oh wow, did I regret doubting that man. I was aware he had learnt to play the piano for the role, but I truly had no inclination how vital it would be, every time Sebastian’s hands settled on the keys and he played – everyone in the theatre was sucked into the music, the emotion of it and the wondrous acting from Gosling. Then you have Emma Stone, in my opinion, is heavily underrated as an actress, who carries off a subtlety most could only ever dream of. I had confidence she would carry off her role as Mia well, and this time I was correct. I really resonated with Mia. Her quiet determination from the outset spurred me on, and despite faltering, she hit back and continued to pursue her acting career. The passion she showed, the love for her work that she exuded definitely shone through, and it was nice to see a woman come into her own on screen, and my only wish is that I could’ve seen a movie representing women within the film and television industry in this light much sooner.
It showed the brutal reality many actors, actresses, directors and writers face in their careers, and how difficult finding your ‘big break’ truly is. It is potentially a prophecy for my future, that despite the talent anyone possesses, to break through requires hard labour and relentless drive. It shows that it’s okay to have moments of weakness as long as you brush yourself off and get back on the horse. I’d love to see it again with a clear head and maybe re-write this review (if I could call it a review, rather than just my incessant ramblings on a fantastic movie I’ve not even fully processed.)
But even beyond the narrative, this film was one of the most beautifully shot pieces of art I have personally seen for a long long time. Everything, from the framing to the colour schemes, the lighting to the musical arrangements flowed so perfectly. I look back and appreciate the hype surrounding the film and the critics raving at award dinners because even if you weren’t a fan of jazz or musicals or romance, you cannot deny the spectacle of beauty on the screen… The film manages to capture the essence of the classic Hollywood musical, without overstepping the mark. Comfortably finding the balance between paying homage to the greats whilst keeping a contemporary vibe throughout – creating its own unique space in the musical genre. The sense of reality Damien Chazelle managed to create while the characters grappled with their careers and romance coupled with the colourful, bright cinematography, La La land is a film that will really leave anyone, not just jazz-loving musical attendees, profoundly happy.
I’ll definitely be waiting for the DVD release, I cannot wait to have the chance to have such a magnificent film at my fingertips forever.