As yet, I have not heard one bad word against La La Land. Not one. Every review, every Tweet I’ve read swoons over the modern-day take on a classical Hollywood musical. Now, when something takes the world by storm and no one can fault it, I get sceptical. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world can be so perfect that it doesn’t offend at least one person.
I went into the cinema with an open mind. Just because the world had fallen in love with it didn’t mean I was going in purposely searching for its downfall. When I first saw the trailer I thought it was going to be a light-hearted, silly, girly film, and I was right, but it won all those Golden Globes, which is only foretelling of its inevitable success at the Oscars next month. So, what is the appeal?
On a technical note, it is a perfect replica of a classical Hollywood film. It was filmed on 35mm which gives it that nostalgic, retro look. Having studied a classical Hollywood cinema module in my first year, I could appreciate Chazelle’s ability to replicate the aesthetic quality of the golden oldies. But, contrary to the happy-ever-after closure you get in classical Hollywood, the story of La La Land is brutally bittersweet. Do you follow your dreams or get the girl/boy? It’s a Hollywood musical, surely you don’t have to choose? Oh, apparently you do now. So, it’s a bit closer to our world than you would have previously imagined.
While there’s nothing actually really wrong with it, I just don’t get it. I don’t really get musicals and their unrelenting cheesiness. Also, I don’t get why Emma Stone is so popular. I’m no singer but I can’t say I think much of either of the leads’ vocals, and yet, even Stone’s lack of singing voice has been admired by critics. It shows her quirkiness or vulnerability, they say. Are people too scared to fault this film? As most seem to love it, I thought this whirlwind film would have a more profound effect on me. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. For me, it was a sort of non-event. Nevertheless, I suppose, when it comes down to it, I don’t blame people for being drawn to the bright colours, the swishy dresses, and Ryan Gosling in spats. With the looming uncertainties of a post-Brexit Britain and with Trump as President, maybe 2 hours in La La Land is the escapism we all need.