In recent years, I have not had much interest in Awards Season, as I have not seen most of the pictures up for the big prizes. This year, like when I was younger and would hoover up all of the runners, I have seen both Moonlight and La La Land and will check out Manchester By The Sea too, as anything with Casey Affleck is essential for me.
Let me predict now – Moonlight will take a couple, probably the two supporting actor awards and La La Land will sweep the rest. Actor. Actress. Movie. Song. All the technical ones. A sweep. A sweep for a beautiful and stunning love letter to old Hollywood.
La La Land is a proper old style musical, it might seem jarring when the opening number sees everyone on the highway get out of their cars and dance, but you soon get used to the style and despite the use of mobiles this could have been made at anytime over the last seventy years. Except most of the studios would not have had the guts to release such a picture, deciding instead that we want brainless action or endless sequels. Sure, there is always a place for those, but this has more heart and soul than any movie of recent years. If you loved Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, (he is not Drive Ryan here, he is Notebook Ryan, this is not a slur, he is great in both pictures) then you will fall in love again here with the guy who loves jazz and finds himself having to take small jobs where they want him to play Christmas tunes instead of letting him express himself how he loves. Finally someone appreciates his work, when Emma Stone walks in to his bar. Oh Emma Stone, she is utterly beguiling here, mesmerising, a beautiful voice and her character wants to be an actress, but she starts working on the movie lot as a barista, whilst she dreams of the silver screen. Oh and she hates jazz. Do you seen where this is going?
The songs throughout (‘City Of Stars’ especially has been in my head constantly) are fantastic and the set pieces, that see our heroes literally soar, will leave you breathless. The camerawork too is stunning, the film is made in Cinemascope, like the classics and it just looks beautiful throughout.
Downside? There IS no downside, La La Land is everything I dreamed it would be and more. Like Gosling’s beloved jazz, this will not be a picture for everyone, but I cannot imagine anyone who gives it a chance not falling under its spell and there will be riots at The Oscars if this does not take them all. ❤