Review of ‘La La Land’

When ‘La La Land’ was referred to as ‘The movie of the year’ with critics calling it ‘Perfection’ I knew it was a movie I had to see. As a life long fan of musicals both on stage and on screen, my expectations were already high, and the rave reviews and awards that showered La La Land only served to raise my expectations higher, so when the DVD was finally in my possession, would it live up to the standards it had set itself?

In many ways, yes it did. Visually the movie was spectacular. It was bright, it was slick and it possessed an air of old school Hollywood that was quintessentially charming. The look of the film was, in many ways, perfection and exactly what I expected.

la-la-land-highway-dance-scene
La La Land’s introductory dance sequence was a blast of light and colour.

The film’s two main stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have excellent chemistry, whcih many will know from tehir previous movies together, such as ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’. They two clearly work well together and compliment each other beautifully on screen. Neither one has a particularly strong singing voice, but neither one is exactly a poor singer either. The song ‘City of Stars’ is beautifully simple and oddly works better with their gentle, restrained singing more so than I feel it would have if teh song had been belted out by a West End Veteran. When sung by Stone and Gosling the song becomes a simple musing on life in Hollywood, it feels natural.

 

There were a few moments that were slightly less natural feeling, as one can expect from a musical. Th moment where the couple take off and fly around the observatory did have my rolling my eyes a little though. That was maybe a step to far.

On the whole, the music itself was well written and well performed. The  big ensemble numbers were bright and colourful and certainly got my foot tapping. But it’s Emma Stone’s emotional solo of ‘The Fools Who Dream’ that really steals the show. Having not particularly wowed vocally for the rest of the film, this number was a complete surprise and led me to feel that actually, during her duets, Stone is toning down her voice to suit Gosling’s.

So far, it would seem that the film lived up to my expectations, right? But somehow, it just didn’t. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when the film finished, I wasn’t left with the captivating, magical feeling that most musicals leave me with. It was a nice film yes, there wasn’t anything particularly the matter with the film and nothing that I particularly disliked, I just wasn’t as spellbound as I would have liked.

 

 

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