La La Land (2016)

There is so much buzz around about this movie that of course I had to see it for myself – and to be honest, I thought it was just ‘okay’.

Mia (Emma Stone) is a struggling actress, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) a struggling musician and jazz nut. As their lives start to intersect, how will their relationship interact with chasing their respective dreams? And more to the point, how will the film makers add in the song and dance routines? 🙂

The opening is full-on musical: everyone – wearing primary colours, of course! – getting out of their cars in a traffic jam to do a perfectly choreographed ‘spontaneous’ routine. It was cheesy as anything – and I had such a huge smile on my face. Things continue like that for a little while, interspersed with a more normally played-out plot line, but then the musicality ebbs as the drama increases.

While this disappointed me, it actually pleased one of my viewing companions, relieved to lose the cheese factor. So, tastes do of course vary! But my preference was definitely for the kitch, the reminders of the golden age of musicals such as Singing in the Rain. I guess the slow veer into a more modern ‘realism’ was half the point though, given how it’s reflected in the plot line of Seb’s quest to ‘save jazz’.

Overall, it’s not that I didn’t like this film – because I did, quite a lot – but it sort of failed to live up to expectations for me, built both from the hype and the opening tone before it all changes a bit. True, it makes for a more mature film than I’d expect from Hollywood or the musical genre, but while it is very clearly a much, MUCH better movie than the likes of, say, Mamma Mia, for me it lost some of the fun that would make me watch it over and over.

Released: 12th January 2017
Viewed: 13th January 2017
Running time: 128 minutes
Rated: 12A (for a little bit of swearing)

My rating: 8/10 – it’s good, but possibly not worth ALL the hype!

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