I’ve never really ventured into film reviews before but I didn’t like the idea for the blog post I had intended to write today and I saw La La Land last night so I thought I’d share my thoughts!
Disclaimer: don’t get me wrong, I like this film, I just didn’t love it. Solid 6/10. Also this is an attempt at a spoiler free review but there may be some minor details, no massive plot spoilers.
With 14 Oscar Nominations, two in Best Original Song, and all of the hype all over the internet, I had really high hopes for this film being a newer version of Singing in the Rain and Summer Holiday – the classic musicals I love and grew up with.
And part of this is my fault I think – seeing all the hype and adoration online, I decided I loved it before I went in so when I actually saw the film in the end out and came out with a dry eye and disappointment, I can’t entirely blame the film.
The music is obviously one of the biggest parts of the film – the opening number is so incredible and I thought that it would set the tone for the rest of the film; huge vocals, massive dance numbers and gorgeous block colour costumes… and then it wasn’t.
I have a musical theatre background and appreciation – I love huge, strong voices like Carrie Fletcher, Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo and that’s what I expected from a film that was so heavily inspired by Singing in the Rain and I hate to say that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone don’t follow through. They can definitely sing and in ‘The Fools Who Dream’ (my favourite song in the entire film by a long shot, though the others are brilliant too) Emma shows a sign of that full on West End voice but until that point they both sound like they’re not quite giving it their all? It sounds quite raspy and breathy and I just felt it didn’t match the jazz music it went with.
And I have similar thoughts on the dancing I’m afraid – as someone who’s favourite dance style is tap and I was really excited to see some really good dancing, my main criticism is that there wasn’t enough dancing and the dancing they did was basic as anything, I’ve seen kids under 10 years old doing what they could do. I know Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling aren’t dancers, but their characters were meant to be in an industry where dancing is kind of important and it really let me down that the scene that the movie poster takes it’s picture from wasn’t this huge dance sequence.
The story itself I do like – the struggling artist, what it’s like to try and get into the industry and the different stages of a relationship and ‘what could have been’, from that point of view the film was quite realistic (apart from the random bursting into song, that’s a given for musicals that we pretend it’s normal). The story and the script were brilliant and the intent was in the right place but personally I wouldn’t say it was successful.
One thing I thoroughly praise is the diversity in this film – the first character to sing is a tall, gorgeous black woman, there are people of all shapes, sizes and colours and roles are not bound by gender stereotypes. The example I use for this is when Mia is working in the cafe, she had a female manager and all the cafe staff were female, however when she returns at the end the manager is male. It’s the little details and they really worked.
I also very highly recommend watching Dodie Clark and Daniel J Layton talking about the film – Dodie adores the film whilst Dan doesn’t have the same obsession for it and they both have some really interesting thoughts. Though, these reviews aren’t spoiler free but they’re worth the watch once you’ve seen the film.
But what do you think? Have you seen La La Land? My social media are linked below, let’s start a discussion!
Thank you for reading,