La La Land
After hearing countless of positive reviews and the potential Oscar buzz surrounding La La Land, I went to see this seemingly amazing film. I was disappointed, unfortunately.
In the hands of any other actors, this movie wouldn’t have nearly been as ‘entertaining’ as it was, as I am the last person to deny the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. However, their love story gets lost in translation, as artistic scenery and flat songs take over.
Emma Stone plays an aspiring actress named Mia, who gets turned away audition after audition and you wonder if acting out those scene’s brought back any bitter memories for the actress. She lives in a house with three friends, all of which you assume are aspiring actresses too. The first twenty minutes of the film revolve around Mia and her struggles as an actress, until she gets stranded at a party without a car and has to walk all the way home. On her way home she stumbles upon a small restaurant and gets lured in by the emotional strokes of a piano.
Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz musician who dreams of opening his own club and keeping the classic jazz music scene alive. He’s in debt because he got swindled and now earns his money by playing the piano at a local restaurant. The two meet, she wanted to tell him how beautifully he played, he’s extremely rude and ignores her, the start of a romance.
The love story itself isn’t half bad. I thoroughly enjoyed the way their relationship was build up from such a first encounter, to your heart shattering when they argued and fought. You see them building each other up, without needing to tear themselves down. I thought it was brilliantly done, which is why I state again, this would not have been the same experience in the hands of other actors.
The songs, as this was a musical, were very lackluster. This is personal preference, I suppose? I like my musical songs to have a bit more power to back up the emotional lyrics. Ryan Gosling’s voice is very soothing but felt at times a bit odd. Emma Stone her voice was surprisingly pleasant, especially the last song she sung left an impression, as this was the only song (excluding the song that was sung by John Legend) that packed an actual punch.
I have to applaud Ryan Gosling for playing the piano himself. I absolutely adore it when actors get to express their talents during their films. I knew Ryan was very talented in the music department and enjoyed seeing him play.
Some artistic aspects feel misplaced. Certain elements seem put in just to impress, which takes away from the story as a whole and felt extremely distracting. I like watching a film and not wonder why they did a certain thing cinematography wise, which only happens when I feel something doesn’t fit with the story. I didn’t mind the way songs started up, because I’m a massive musical fan and am used to the ‘cue the music’ moments.
I discussed the ending of the film with my mother who joined me on this adventure, and she found the ending extremely dissatisfying. I, however, could get behind the ending and understood why they choose this.
All in all, I’m not praising this film the way many other outlets are doing. I thought it got lost a lot, and some aspects were very distracting, the songs felt really boring and the amazing acting is really what saved it for me in the end. Of course, this is all my own personal opinion and I would still recommend you watching this film if you were planning on seeing it, but I’d say stay home and wait for it to come on Netflix as it’s not worth your money.