I wonder what this post will be about??
I don’t imagine many films reviews being on my blog but when have to write about something, you have to write about something! This is one such occasion.
With awards season just gone, the best films of the past year have seen more publicity recently. The 2017 Oscars will never be forgotten that’s for sure!
La La Land is a film that has reinvigorated my passion for musicals and cinema. From hearing people’s opinions it feels like La La Land is a bit of a marmite film. You’ll either absolutely love it or you won’t. If you have seen it and you don’t like it then that’s cool. This post is probably not for you but it would be nice to hear your thoughts. This is my chance to tell the world how I feel about this film.
Due to fact that I very rarely go to the cinema nowadays (once a year on average), I wasn’t planning on seeing La La Land. When I watched Rouge One (I will watch Star Wars films without fail) I saw La La Lands trailer. It looked good but I thought that no matter how hard it tried it would not be a good musical film. For some reason I imagined it being like a mix of a remake of an old musical and The Artist that came out a few years ago. It would try to be original but it just wouldn’t work. Fast-forward a few weeks and it was getting nominations left, right and centre for BAFTA’s and Oscars. My intrigue grew. I saw a clip of the film on the Graham Norton Show and I knew that I had to see it.
So one weekend I went to the nearest cinema showing it. I loved it (obviously!). I immediately thought after the first minute that I was going to love the film. That’s a big call to make when there are still two hours to go, but as a musical lover the first song just hooked me in. There was no messing around, a musical number right at the start. It set the scene for what the film was going to be: beautiful locations, full of colour and fun.
A friend of mine, who liked the film too, summed it up perfectly. It is a film that will make you laugh, feel and cry.
At the heart of any good film is the story. La La Land is what you’d call a stereotypical love story. Two aspiring young people in LA have dreams that they are struggling to fulfil. As they live their lives they cross paths and start to have a love/hate relationship. As they get to know each other they begin to realise that the other person is something missing from their lives. They inevitably fall in love, end of film. Oh but wait what about Mia’s dream of becoming an actress and Sebastian’s dreams of having his own jazz club? The story just doesn’t end with them falling in love.
As the story progressed I knew that the film had given me the kind of story I expected but it was layering on top of that a much richer level of the struggles in a relationship. The continuing struggle in the relationship is the dreams they are both trying to achieve. I won’t reveal any more of what happens but if you have seen it you’ll surely have felt an emotional attachment to the story.
We’re all looking for love. But we also have dreams and ambitions. In a perfect world, these two will go hand in hand. However, life is never as simple as that. God dam it!
Many of the settings in the film are so rich with colour that just leaps off the screen. The views from the planetarium over the LA skyline are beautiful sights.
What really stood out for me was one particular shot during the opening song. The number takes place during a massive traffic jam on a long highway. Towards the end of the song, the camera pans backwards so you can see the rest of the highway as it slopes downwards into the sea of roads ahead. All the way along this central highway you could see people on top of cars dancing whilst all the cars on the roads and highways around were moving along as normal. I looked all the way to the end of the highway in the distance to still see people dancing. It was a fantastic shot and was held in place for a few seconds for the audience to really be able to take it in.
A huge part of the film was the music. When I left the cinema I briefly thought that there were not enough big musical songs. After buying the soundtrack (a rare occurrence) I concluded that the music was a perfect match.
The big musical songs Another Day of Sun and Someone in The Crowd are the big showstoppers. The more romantic and meaningful A Lovely Night, City of Stars and The Fools Who Dream offer a lovely balance and fit perfectly into the context of the story.
Alongside these songs are truly beautiful musical arrangements with an orchestra and piano. Mia and Sebastian’s theme in which Ryan Gosling plays the piano I find incredibly moving. Whenever I hear it I just have to stop everything and go into a moment of deep reflection and thought. That sounds so deep but when a piano is being played and it is just that, it is so powerful.
Ha Ha Happy
I read a few reviews and although there are some sceptical ones in the main the ones I came across had the same feelings towards the film as I had. It is one of the best films I’ve seen in years. It has had such a positive effect on me and I am so glad I went to see it. In recent years the films that have left a real mark on me were Star Wars the Force awakens and Interstellar. Having Star Wars back in the cinema is a magical experience and Interstellar got me totally hooked on Astronomy. La La Land just made me happier. With all the stuff going on in politics in the UK and US over the past year, this film comes at such a perfect time. It whisked me away into another world where I was in oar of its beauty, storytelling and music.
Having listened to the soundtrack like a million times and a month passing since I watched the film, my over the top enthusiasm is wearing off. However, my love for it remains and I hope that if you have seen the film you have these feelings too.
Have you seen La La Land? What did you think?
Was the film what you were expecting?
Let me know what you think of the film.
Images are from the Facebook pages of La La Land.