Update: After consideration of the story the movie was trying to tell, I now fully understand it but it does not detract from how I felt watching the movie. So it is still good, but the message and actual events that happen tell a different story than I originally thought.
Original: La La Land is Damien Chazelle’s next movie after 2014’s amazing Whiplash. He also wrote the screenplay for this year’s 10 Cloverfield Lane which makes this director writer a true treasure for the film community. His ability to personify desire and express an idea is truly amazing and a gift.
La La Land continues the director’s amazing track record with great movies. Though Whiplash got J.K. Simmons and Oscar for best supporting actor, La La Land is a high priority on many prestigious award lists. La La Land is a musical about two starving artists who are trying to find their purpose and achieve their dreams.
It might come as a surprise, but Damien Chazelle really likes jazz music. This is a joke for anyone who did not have the pleasure of seeing Whiplash, but Chazelle continues to bring it back. In this movie there is a character who also loves jazz and seems to be an important point for Chazelle as a director. Now don’t get me wrong, I have come to love the jazz that Chazelle brings, but one must worry if that plot point will soon get old.
Since on the topic of music, I must address my problems with musicals in general. If characters start breaking out into song for no reason, I will not like it. If there is no reason for the musical number, it is pretty much there as filler. So I am glad to say that this movie is pretty much void of this problem. The only time this happens is at the beginning of the movie, and since it doesn’t happen again, it gets a pass. The rest of the movie musical makes sense when the singing and dancing happens which is nice since it allows for it all to flow together. The music itself warms its way to your heart until it can only put a smile on your face when you hear it. It is not as infatuating as Whiplash’s sound track, but that has to do with the amount of songs that the movies try and get you to fall in love with. While Whiplash had two really great songs over the course of the movie, La La Land has many more for you to enjoy. The quality of songs do not really differ and each one has its place.
Music can really help a film be more memorable and be more personal since music so deeply connected to human emotion. It moves through us and evokes feeling, so that makes this movie better than it would have been without it. This is due to the story being fine, but a generic one. To say that La La Land is something special has truth to it, but not entirely true. A story about two starving artists waiting to achieve their dreams and meeting each other is not anything new, but it does it well. You can feel the desperation and raw reality of an artist’s dilemma. Now the outcome of the movie is very “movie’ but that is to be expected because it complements the story the way it was designed to.
It is important with this movie to distinguish the reactions of the growing few, to the shrinking many. You may have no clue as to what I am talking about, but it is important. The critics who have seen this movie love it, and now that it is available to the public to see, the reviews might start to go towards the other direction. Some complaints are entrenched in the logistics of reality which is a fair point. The idea that you should risk your life for fame and the romanticization of employment is not a great message. These things are real problems that plague people today that are in fact not fun to deal with. Also the idea of a white narrative that strings the movie along is something to consider, but for me all of these complaints didn’t affect my movie going experience. A more real black mark on the movie comes from the idea of if the character's roles were switched. If the man was in the woman's position, would it be heaviliy criticised? If you want a review that highlights the oppositions of this movie, definitly search for one because it might really affect how you see the movie.
Overall this movie was a musical no doubt, not a perfect one, but a good one. It doesn’t really fill the shoes of Whiplash since that was a more personal story, but I still enjoyed watching it.
7.5/10 Unless the hidden meaning is intentional than it would get a higher score