YouTube: La La Land (2016 Movie) Official Trailer – ‘Dreamers’
I’ll let you in on a secret: La La Land is really, really good. I saw it on Monday evening and, downloading the soundtrack as I left the cinema, I noticed there was another showing at the same time the following night. So I also saw it on Tuesday. And had I not already made plans for Wednesday night, I expect I would have seen it then too.
I should start by saying: I’m really not that into musicals. I like Disney because it doesn’t feel so ridiculous when it’s for kids, and I like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend because it’s hilarious. Everything else, well, just makes me a bit uncomfortable. Spontaneous song and dance just isn’t my thing.
Step up, director Damien Chazelle and his team of songwriters and choreographers. Step up, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I dared them to defy me. “More like La La Bland!!!!!” I thought before I went in, trying to come up with puns for my inevitably negative review of this so widely appreciated, Golden Globe-winning musical.
Within 30 seconds I was grinning. The opening song, ‘Another Day Of Sun’, is pure energy and colour and everything you could want to really get a film going. The song brings together different voices, sounds and instruments, and really sets the tone for rest of the music in the film, if not in style, then in quality. I almost felt uncomfortable about how quickly the film had won me over, but there was hardly time for me to start feeling cynical again before another brilliant, crowd-pleasing song-and-dance sequence, ‘Someone In The Crowd’, began. It really is a film absolutely packed with quality, and the music is a fine example. There isn’t a single song on the soundtrack that I’ve ever even come close to skipping.
The other thing that struck me very early on is how funny La La Land is. La La Land is not A Comedy Film, which makes its humour all the more impressive – it’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. Ryan Gosling is almost as funny in this as he is in The Nice Guys, an actual comedy film (and an excellent one, at that), and Emma Stone is as entertaining and watchable as she always is, especially beside Gosling. From Sebastian’s (Gosling) failed attempts to be a “serious musician” to Mia’s (Stone) cringe-worthy auditions, the film achieves more laughs than many straight-up comedy films.
I was sceptical as to how a film that was effectively a romcom with songs could be rated so highly by so many: so often these days, the only 5-star-rated films are those that are impossibly morbid, or genuinely difficult to watch. I loved Room, but it’s a difficult watch, and I’ve never found the desire to sit down and watch 12 Years A Slave, despite its excellent reviews, because I know it’s not a film I’ll necessarily ‘enjoy.’ But La La Land is an exception: as a romantic comedy, it is far and away the best of a usually decidedly average bunch (note: one of my other favourite romantic comedies, Crazy, Stupid Love, also features Gosling and Stone. I doubt it’s a coincidence), and as a film, it is far and away one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
I can’t wait to see it again.