On the second weekend of February my husband and I went to see “La La Land”.
When a movie has clear front runner status to be named Best Picture at the Academy Awards it’s easy for it to be a love it or hate it film. For me “La La Land” is neither. I didn’t love it, I think there are several films nominated for Best Picture that are better and if the Academy still only nominated five films I don’t think it would deserve it’s nomination. But I didn’t hate it either and since the Academy nominated nine films this year I can see why it was nominated, but I don’t think it should win. I found the film to be very entertaining and enjoyable and I enjoyed it from start to finish, but it is no masterpiece.
I think a big part of people’s feelings about “La La Land” depends on how much experience and/or affinity you have for the city of Los Angeles. I grew up in a small town in Northwest Colorado and I always dreamed of coming to Los Angeles. As a result I absolutely adored the first half of “La La Land”, it is everything you want to believe Los Angeles is when you come from somewhere in the middle of the country.
The idea of glamour and magic and dreams that come true is why people keep coming to the City of Angels year after year after year. But so few of the dreams of those of us who come to Los Angeles come true and the film does a good job in the second half of hitting on those frustrations and disappointments.
The film ultimately ends on a bit of bittersweet note which I think is perfect for adult life. Some dreams come true, some don’t, some relationships are meant to be and others are just a moment in time. I totally get why people love “La La Land” and I also get why people hate it. If you grew up in Los Angeles and you only know the dark side of the city you would think the film is totally superficial and I do think that is a valid criticism. Still, I like that this film created a feeling like an old Hollywood Musical and for that full credit belongs to director Damien Chazelle…Also as somebody who lives in Los Angeles it’s fun to spot the different locations in the film.
The two lead characters could have been annoying in the hands of the wrong actors; thankfully we get Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Gosling oozes charm and gives an excellent performance.
Emma Stone continues to shine in the career that one could argue should have belonged to Lindsay Lohan. The only supporting role that really stuck with me was John Legend and he is quite charming.
I enjoyed “La La Land” from start to finish but it’s not a great movie. But most movies aren’t great, just the fact that they entertain you for two hours is enough and “La La Land” is more than successful when it comes to that criteria. I do recommend it.
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Here is a description:
Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.