I’m not a fan of musicals and I feared the worst a few minutes into La La Land when a mass dance party broke out on a Los Angeles freeway.
The film follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) as she attends countless auditions while working as a barista on the Warner Bros backlot. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz-revivalist who dreams of opening his own club while working for tips playing Jingle Bells in up-market restaurants.
It’s a pretty standard Hollywood love story set against the backdrop of two leads juggling their love life while chasing their dreams and showing that the struggle to get there hasn’t changed much since the classic era. There are plenty of influences from the genre-staples of the fifties and sixties, think Singing in the Rain and An American in Paris, while more modern musical traits are also included. The singing and dancing isn’t perfect but that adds to the enjoyment and makes the musical numbers feel as natural as they can in a film as aesthetically-focused as this.
From start to finish, the movie looks incredible. Each skyline perfectly lit by pink sunsets, the characters immaculately dressed throughout and the more tired streets of LA given a fresh coat of nostalgia.
La La Land claimed seven Golden Globes last night, winning every award it was nominated for including best director, screenplay, score and song. It’s splitting audiences and critics between those who are willing to commit to two-hours of escapism and those still stuck on the 2016 trip of hating EVERYTHING for not perfectly nailing their slant on politics, history and context. For me, calling a release the best film of 2017 less than two weeks into the year seems extreme but La La Land is going take some beating.
Are you a fan of musicals? Did La La Land live up to the hype?? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments section below.