movie film review | chris tookey

La La Land

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  La La Land Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
9.36 /10
Emma Stone , Ryan Gosling, J.K.Simmons
Full Cast >

Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle

Released: 2016
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 128

A wannabe actress (Emma Stone, pictured left) falls for a wannabe jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling, pictured right), but they find their careers getting in the way of romance.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I was under-impressed. I didnít much care for the amateurish songs (and they weren't jazzy, so why would the leading man, supposedly a jazz enthusiast, want to express himself through them?), the sub-standard singing and dancing, even in the opening number where they had the whole pool of US talent to draw on, and a banal script that undermined its "follow your dream, and talent will succeed" message by showing us a couple "succeeding" with less talent than hundreds of singer-dancers slogging away in the real world for little reward.

There are many references to other musicals, especially Singiní In The Rain, A Star is Born and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - but thatís dangerous, when your own musical is not as inventive or original as the ones to which youíre paying tribute.

Emma Stone is cute, and itís a tribute to her charisma that hardly anyone except me found her character vacuous and cliched. I can see why girls might go for Ryan Gosling, despite his poor voice and sub-Danny Mac dance moves. But I didnít discern much on-screen chemistry - especially surprising since they were so wonderful together in Crazy Stupid Love . Though Iím sure I wasnít meant to, I found his character more annoyingly arrogant and self-obsessed than attractively principled. I was rooting for them not to end up together. Admittedly, I did like the final "what might have been" montage, which was the one original touch, and almost persuaded me that the two leading characters had been in a relationship.

Itís not terrible. But I went, expecting - on the basis of the overwhelmingly positive reviews - a new Singin' In The Rain or maybe even the reinvention of the screen musical. I found only a slightly less annoying version of Down With Love. This was a movie that took an age to get going and then only succeeded in patches. The audience at the cinema I attended (the Barbican, in London) reacted to it with stunned disbelief. What a pity! I really liked the director's previous film, Whiplash, which had all the verve, self-confidence and originality that this lacked.

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