La La Land Review

Last night I went with a group of women to dinner and a movie. We saw La La Land, the frontrunner to win Best Picture at the Oscars and the reason I watched All About Eve last week.

It was so nice to be with a group of women, who come from different backgrounds, but have all settled in the same place. We talked about life in Germany, what we miss of home and then walked to the local theater that shows movies in the original versions, AKA the American movie theater.

I had high expectations for this movie. It stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, so how could it possibly be bad. And while I wouldn’t say this movie isn’t worth the hype, I will say it was not what I thought. Here’s my La La Land movie review.

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The movie opens on a Los Angeles highway with cars backed up for miles in the stereotypical LA traffic. And then…drivers start singing. I was not expecting music, singing and dancing. But, this was just the beginning. The dancers and singers are wearing modern versions of 60’s clothes and jumping on cars and opening truck backs to reveal a band. It was very West Side Story. Not the best singing in the world, nor the best dancing, by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s entertaining.

The movie follows wannabe actress, Mia, played by Emma Stone, go on auditions and a jazz pianist, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, recover from losing his job and his favorite jazz club turning into a weird tapas restaurant. There are glimpses of humor and lessons on life. Like when Mia wants to give up on going to auditions, Sebastian convinces her that she should follow her passion and write her own play.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling aren’t the greatest singers in the world, more like I was watching them sing in the shower or at karaoke on a drunken Saturday night. But I think that’s the point. It’s supposed to not be perfect. The movie is supposed to show how decisions in life can lead you down one path. As for the dancing scene where it appears the couple is dancing through the sky, I actually found that to be quite nice. It’s clear this movie wants to portray realness about finding yourself, struggling in your early career and following your dreams, while also being somewhat whimsical and satirical. And what is more artsy than dancing on the sky?

There were moments when I loved the movie and moments when I wanted to walk out. The ending threw me for a loop. It flashes forward five years and you see where both characters end up. Or do you? I walked away feeling that this was a good movie, but not one I could watch again. Is it worth the Oscar? Can’t say for certain. The score the script and the cinematography are incredible and should probably win those. I’d give the movie a B-.

Have you seen the movie? What do you think?

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