La La Land has received rave reviews and award nominations so two of our writers went to see it and came away with different views on it.
Recent winner of 6 Golden Globes, La La Land looks like it’s going to have the same incredible success at the Oscars with an impressive record-equalling 14 Oscar nominations.
La La Land tells the story of Seb and Mia, two people drawn to each other through their passion for achieving their dreams. Seb is a closed off musician enamoured with the world of Jazz and Mia is an actress scrambling through auditions desperate for her big break, or just any break. Their story is told through beautiful music, dance numbers and incredible visuals.
It is potentially the prettiest film both visually and musically I’ve seen and no I’m not just saying that because Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are the leads! The soundtrack is both uplifting and bittersweet with ‘Seb & Mia’s Theme’ being the only piece of music that can make me both smile and tear up and ‘The Fools Who Dream’ giving me goosebumps. It is easy to understand why people had to resist the urge to applaud at the end of each number in the cinema with a soundtrack as rich as La La Land’s.
Both Gosling and Stone give moving performances revealing the humanity of their characters and drawing in the audience making them care, emphasis and grow with them. Directed by Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle, the audience are taken through the seasons of Seb and Mia’s relationship watching it blossom, grow and struggle.
While the film might be set in Hollywood, La La Land doesn’t quite have the Hollywood ending that its audience may be expecting or craving. Don’t worry no spoilers, just trust us that it will leave you wanting more. More from the characters, more songs, more dancing and more insight into the golden age of Hollywood.
**** – 4 Stars
Given the hype surrounding the film and its recent success at the Golden Globes I went with some friends to see La La Land and we all left feeling underwhelmed. The opening number set in a traffic jam on a freeway held much promise and I was expecting more, in the style of the classic Hollywood musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain.
However the film slowed down and what was billed a musical lacked a much-needed song in the middle act and I was left wanting more.
It is a good film, beautifully staged with good performance from the leads but it just didn’t have the spark I was expecting.
If you want to see a feel-good film then this is perfect but it my view didn’t live up to its hype.
*** – 3 Stars