Thursday, February 23, 2017

La La Land

Is La La Land a forgettable romcom with pretty costumes and miscast stars?
A gorgeous love letter to the musicals of Vincent Minnelli and Jacques Demy?
A sharp dissection of American narcissism?

Critics have argued for all of these and more in the lead up to Oscar night. My guess is that the film will be forgotten after Oscar night and the musical theater fans will move on to debating the merits of the Disney's Beauty and the Beast remake.

Chazelle draws a line in the sand midway through when Ryan Gosling's musician joins John Legend's jazz fusion band. Emma Stone's actress attends the concert and shakes in horror at the high energy performance and the cheering crowds. She seems to be saying "Ugh. Pop music. How tacky. Wouldn't you rather be listening to my breathy head voice or watching Gosling's timid dance steps?" I was team John Legend from that scene on.

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