La La Land
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Written & Directed by: Damien Chazelle
U.S.A./Hong Kong, 2016
How good is this movie?
As pure spectacle, La La Land is certainly a success. The sets, costumes, choreography, and filming are all great. The soundtrack may not be the world’s catchiest, but it’s not bad either. It is, however, very much a style-over-substance movie. The leads and their separate journeys aren’t particularly original, though they have some interesting aspects. Unfortunately, there’s also a romantic storyline that is neither original nor interesting. That’s not unusual, but in this case you can see how the movie would have been better without it. The leads work well together as friends but have no chemistry as lovers, so all their romantic arc does is slow the film down and distract from its more interesting elements. Had their relationship instead been a friendship with some understated romantic tension, everything from the story to the pacing to the ending would have worked better.
How ace is this movie?
The two leads start out rather disliking each other, but, as per Hollywood tradition, it’s not long before they fall in love. This relationship is the main focus of the story; their other relationships don’t get much development. However, even the romantic relationship is ultimately less important to the characters than their private dreams and ambitions.
3.5 Stars; 3 Aces