I know… it hasn’t had much press has it? But I think it deserves some praise because it was BRILLIANT.
I jest of course. I’m sure everybody’s moved on to T2 now but sry not sry I’m chiming in on the whole La La Land thing because I LOVED IT and I’ve been playing City of Stars on repeat since last week (sorry HRH) and I can’t seem to stop imagining my life is actually a musical and we could all just burst into song at any moment. Can we?
If you haven’t seen it yet you need to get down to the Picturehouse STAT (because srsly is there any other cinema worth going to?) Hey I’ll even come and watch it with you. How’s next Tuesday? Or tomorrow?! I’ll cancel my plans and get popcorn.
We need more films like this: Dreamlike sequences interspersed with real life heartbreak and rejection and regret. It’s enchanting stuff and it makes my heart crash and soar far more than any glossed over rom-com could (although don’t get me wrong I do love a rom com). Films, as a general rule, are either gritty realism or fluffy romantic ridiculousness; there’s little in between. Until now.
La La Land is like a more magical, musical version of life – where you don’t always hit the right note and your dreams don’t always come true and love doesn’t always mean you get to stay together forever, even if you really want to. But there’s still lots of lovely stuff if you look for it. It’s happy and sad and complicated and you get let down and you part ways and it hurts but you move on, or you pretend to move on then you see one another five years later and you realise you haven’t really moved on at all.
(Spoiler alert): At the end of the film, our protagonist’s dreams came true, but at the price of their relationship. Each lost a great love in pursuit of a lifelong ambition. It’s bittersweet. People make compromises. Never before has there been such a realistic ending to such a romantic film. Okay maybe Titanic. (While we’re on the subject it did not need to end that way – there was totally room for two on that door).
Love is a wonderful powerful thing but it doesn’t always triumph over life and all of its complications and aspirations. That doesn’t make it any less powerful though: Without love, Emma Stone’s Mia would never have known about the audition that would change her life: Love propelled both characters into the next phase, where each excelled in his or her own way.
Sure it was an all singing all dancing version of real life where everybody is really, really ridiculously good looking with flawless skin (one step at a time, Hollywood) – but Damien Chazelle’s reluctance to conform to a neat narrative with a storybook ending where everything works out exactly the way we want it to was the right thing to do. By the way – how does it make you feel to know he’s only 32?! THIRTY TWO?! I have a lot of work to do…