I think I went to see La La Land at just the right time. Let’s face it: the first few weeks of 2017 have been pretty miserable from an international perspective and the news shows haven’t held back in delivering a steady stream of doom, gloom and bigotry on a nightly basis.
I also need to preface my review of the movie with an admission that I’m a massive fan of musicals. Always have been. My favourites are probably the classics staring Gene Kelly, whose voice and footwork still give me footsteps. There’s something about people singing and dancing on film that lightens my mood and gets my feet tapping.
Infectiously light-hearted and optimistic.
And that’s La La Land in a nutshell. It reflects and pays tribute to so many musicals, I lost count. There are the ‘dream sequences’ we came to know and love in Gene Kelly’s American in Paris, and the skirt-swinging, stamping attitude of West Side Story.
I was, quite simply, in heaven for the entire film.
But if you’re not a fan of musicals, you’ll probably be more critical and won’t enjoy the (apparently) random songs and dances. You’ll spot the slight ropiness of some of the singing and some of the (slight) mis-steps.
And that’s precisely what I loved about it. In a world where over-produced music is flavour of the month, to see two people skip through a song was a welcome change. The soundtrack has been bouncing around in my head ever since and I think it’ll become one of my most favourite Spotify albums.
The whole experience was a welcome palate-cleanser, helping me forget the shit-show the world has become in the last six month, just for a couple of hours. I haven’t lost my mind completely. I don’t think it’s worth 14 Oscars, it’s just a well-made, fun and light production.
There are better musicals. There are far better soundtracks. And there are definitely better singers! But the combination of song, dance, enthusiasm and timing got me where it counts. If you’re a hopeless romantic like me, sit back and prepare to smile.