Potential spoilers in this blog post – so if you don’t want anything ruined, don’t read it!
I wrote half of this post at 11.44pm last night, the minute I got home from watching La La Land. And like every other person I’ve decided to listen to the soundtrack on Spotify immediately whilst writing. Whenever I clearly have too much to say on something and have already bothered people with my thoughts and rants I just come here to TALK AND RANT SOME MORE! The joys of having a blog. You get to bang on as much as you want.
I should probably admit firstly that I cried loads during this film, way more than I thought I would. I even cried on the walk home! I guess I thought it was going to be uplifting, but it was more complex than that. The song Another Day of Sun certainly starts the film off with a big bang with the amazing choreography that turns a dreary traffic jam into something extravagant and amazing. After that opening song when it goes silent into the credits and the cinema whooped and clapped! In HACKNEY! The film does a good job of giving you the “wow” factor from the very first scene.
(I love crying during movies btw, my biggest fear is being like Cameron Diaz in The Holiday when she’s unable to cry. I love a good old cinema sob.)
When I was in LA last Summer, we had a night in having a takeaway in our Air B’n’B and I had picked up a copy of Vogue, Emma Stone was on the cover and she was interviewed about La La Land, but also how she moved to LA and in between auditions used to work in a dog treat bakery before making it “big”. So the whole way through the film I remembered that interview and all the things she’d said about getting rejected in the past, in real life.
On that note, Emma Stone’s Golden Globes speech was just amazing:
“Any creative person who’s had a door slammed in their face, whether metaphorically or physically…or anyone anywhere who feels like giving up sometimes, but finds it in themselves to get up and keep moving forward, I share this with you.”
Sorry to be another clichéd fangirl of LA to add to the mix but there *is* something about LA that makes you feel a bit gooey and soppy and dreamy. When I was there I went to the UCB Theatre (a famous haunt where so many famous people started out) so to see some amazing improv with incredibly talented actors you can’t help but feel inspired in an icky loved-up way… LA is full of dreamers and creatives and what a gorgeous environment to be in.
Also can we talk about Ryan Gosling’s strand of hair that falls into his eyes when he plays the piano?
ALSO, the JK Simmons cameo made me so happy, oh what a lovely little nod to Whiplash especially when he’s telling Ryan Gosling’s character off for deviating from the set-list! I’ve been binging on podcasts that feature the director Damien Chazelle talking about this creative journey. This one on Playback Podcast is very good and insightful. Maybe my tears were also the fact that the director is only 32 years old and already has made two of the most epic films I’ve seen? So sickeningly impressive.
So why did I find this film so sad? I mean I guess I started crying from the minute Emma Stone’s character looks up and no-one is watching her play apart from the friends. There is a tension and comic relief with Ryan Gosling’s hilarious photoshoot biting-the-lip moment in John Legend’s “cool band” which meant he didn’t turn up. You feel bad for Ryan Gosling’s character because he’s signed his life away on the dotted line but POOR EMMA STONE!
I think it also raised questions around “selling out” and how for artists it’s potentially a good way of “getting in” and getting recognition before then going on to do what they truly want to do. (aka Gosling joining the weird band before having the £ to open his own club).
It feels a bit lame and “all about me!” to say it’s #relatable, but the moment where literally no one cares about your art and also BITCHES about your thing and you overheard them? I think a lot of people can relate to that. I guess it is relatable on some level, even though none of us mere mortals can dance in the starry sky or tap dance our way around in LA with Ryan Gosling on a sunny weekday evening.
It’s a story of romance, failure, love, passion, rejection and heartbreak.
But the lasting impression for me that it’s actually a pretty melancholy film. Although there are a number of happy songs, the main stand-outs Audition and City of Stars are beautifully glum. The happiest bit of the whole storyline seems to be when they are hustling for The Dream at the beginning, full of dreams and naivety. There’s an excitement at the parties, meeting new people, dreaming together, moving slowly towards their goals, but they don’t seem to be that happy once they’ve actually got The Dream. After the “Five Years Later” titles appear, Emma Stone’s character is marching around, appears cold and too serious. Ryan Gosling is sat at his piano looking miserable in his jazz bar after seeing her. Is The Dream even that good?
Anyway, off to listen to the soundtrack and cry some more.