I was recently forced to go to the cinema to see the musical “La La Land.” I have never been a fan of recorded musicals; I think the experience of a live one cannot be compared. However, I am able to recognise whether a film should be appreciated for its artistic creation rather than personal bias.
It felt slightly like I was watching “Crazy, Stupid, Love” on crystal meth. I think that I would have had the same experience; lucky for them it was cheaper for me to go to the cinema and better for my health.
The opening…was not good. The most entertaining thing about it was my facial expressions. Why would people, irrelevant to the plot, be singing happily during a traffic jam? The film should have begun with the first scene leading on to a chorus scene, a different one.
As much as I adore Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone they are not the most amazing singers. There were moments that were good, such as the scene of their duet at the piano but this can be attributed to their talent as actors. The emotion came through their characters rather than their singing skills. As an audience member I longed for a crescendo, a powerful singing moment that I never received because of their limitations.
The devices chosen felt mismatched to the film, the slow focus was overused to emphasise a point which then became meaningless but it has to be said that the most ridiculous scene was when the couple were dancing in the planetarium and began to float in the universe. This is when I checked my popcorn packet to see if it said “sweet and salty” or “sweet and sulphuric acid.” I believe that this scene could have been ‘magical’ but the backdrop seemed tacky more than anything else.
The whole thing couldn’t decide as to whether it was a realistic musical, simply enhanced by singing and dancing or an alternative one which pushed the boundaries of expectations to become this “La La Land.”
I would argue that there was little of this psychedelic nature so that when it did occur it clashed with the rest of the naturalistic plot. Considering the title of the film this was surprising as surely wacky themes were the overall concept, an alternative land or path. Ironically this theme was mostly emphasised by the ending but in a realistic way, completely contradictory.
My review is perhaps perceived as extremely harsh towards the film, constantly criticising its fragmentation. Although the antagonistic relationship between the two main characters was beautiful and must be credited.
Despite this film perhaps not deserving the awards it received I would not categorize it as a ‘bad movie,’ simply a confused one.