Posted by: greercn | January 24, 2017

La La Land

Hollywood is in love with itself so a movie about Hollywood will always do well. “La La Land” is a new musical based on the idea that Hollywood success is ultimate success.

The trouble with this premise is neither of the gorgeous and delightful leads can sing or dance. They purr along and move fine, but the emperor has no clothes.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are beautiful to look at. And they toddle along in perfect formation, as in a music video.

But they aren’t Debbie Reynolds or Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. You may find a small rebellious part of you going “yeah, right, I could do that song and dance”.

They don’t appear to be passionate about each other. They seem to be two great friends out on a day trip, together.

That’s the elephant in the room. Two delightful and charming leads sing and dance perfectly adequately. But I longed to be wowed by the musical routines and after an extraordinary beginning, I never really was.

Is director and writer Damien Chazelle, who made the brilliant “Whiplash”, trying to tell us that merely capable singers and dancers can be stars, in Hollywood?

“La La Land” is a perfectly pleasant musical with scenes of depth and truth. The last 20 minutes feel real and haunting.

But the 2 hour and 13 minute running time is just too long.

It will win a lot of awards. Lots of people will love it. Most critics will adore it as it harks back to an older, gentler movie business.

And Gosling did really learn to play piano well, so that’s impressive.

It’s all about Sebastian (Gosling) being an aspiring jazz musician and Mia (Emma Stone) wanting to act and, maybe, write.

J.K. Simmons and John Legend shine in small roles. And there are very good musicians, singers and dancers on offer in the ensemble.

Everyone else at Stratford East Picturehouse loved it much more than I did. They were humming the songs and I can’t remember one.

There is wonderful whimsy in scenes set among the stars and the costumes and locations will please viewers. Even I was overjoyed at how very lovely it all is. Struggle has never looked so beautiful and glossy.

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Responses

  1. I agree on all points! I just dont get the buzz around it. Where was the energy? Where were the big tunes and dance routines?

    • Thank you. So many people loved it that I felt like a Grinch at Christmas. And I usually try to be positive. It’s good to know others share my doubts.

      • I was really looking forward to it! I was expecting a really good modern musical with the energy from the 50’s. A modern Singing In The Rain type affair.

  2. Me too! I plan to go see Singing In The Rain or maybe buy the DVD to remind myself of what musicals should be. Mainly, they should feature amazing singing and dancing. Duh…

  3. Just doesn’t interest me to even go and see it at the cinema and I doubt I’ll watch it on DVD
    Seems to sickly sweet for my liking

    • It will be on TV so wait until then. The opening sequence and the last 20 minutes are good. And the sets and costumes are good. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Loved the review. I really, really went for this film. Loved the numbers and the central romance. Funny thing is I came at it from a different angle from many. I wasn’t part of the initial hype at all. Wasn’t sold on it. Ended up absolutely loving it.

    • Loving a movie is always a good thing. Always.

    • Yes, I may have made a mistake here as so much of it stays with me. My sticking point is that neither of the gorgeous and charming leads can really sing or dance.

      • It was long you are right, but we did love the movie so much still! We actually recreated the Lovely Night scene here in Chicago. Would love to know your thoughts! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcwvTKHOr6Q

      • I found your video much more likeable and easy to watch than the original was. Heck, you may have even made me see the point of that movie. Can you remake every song, in Chicago? You make it so charming. 🙂


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