Friday, January 13, 2017

la la land...

Moira and I went along to the Watershed (where else?) this afternoon to see Bristol’s first showing of this acclaimed film. Somewhat predictably, even for an afternoon showing, it wasn’t far off being a full house. The scenario (as you probably already know) is two people - a jazz pianist (Seb, played by Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Mia, played by Emma Stone) – who fall in love while pursuing their dreams of Hollywood stardom.
I purposely tried to avoid knowing too much about the film in advance… basically, I knew it was a musical of sorts and that it also featured dance (the poster's a bit of a give-away).
Ridiculously for most film buffs, I really hadn’t seen much of Emma Stone before this film (Birdman is the only one I can recall?) and, whilst I recognised Ryan Gosling, our paths clearly hadn’t crossed too many times in the past (I know!)(in fact, before the film, I felt sure I wasn’t going to like him!).
Well, surprise surprise, I found it absolutely delightful.
Predictably, Seb was first class and I’m in love with Mia (who was also first class)!
Yes, it’s something of ‘an all-singing, all-dancing romance’, but it’s not over-slushy and I particularly enjoyed the music. Neither Gosling nor Stone are natural singers, but I thought they were both perfect for their respective roles (and they both dance rather gracefully too!). To its credit (for me, at least), the film isn’t over-glitzy and, indeed, even has a degree of ‘ordinariness’ about it, which merely adds to its charm.
I’ve just read Peter Bradshaw’s (5 star) review in The Guardian… and he makes reference to the film’s “primary-coloured homage to classic movie musicals”. I can only endorse this (not that my knowledge of classic movie musicals is extensive!). In fact, there were some scenes that made me think of director Wes Anderson – beautifully orchestrated and stunningly graphic (frequently shot against a backdrop of a colourful building façade or a painted wall or a stunning skyline at dusk etc etc).
Moira wasn’t quite sure about the film (she reckoned it took her an hour to get into it – but, then she’s not a great lover of music or musicals), but I really enjoyed it.
After all the gloom and doom following Trump’s election and the repercussions of the Brexit vote, this film is a breath of fresh air… it’s about hopes and dreams.
Ok, in a way, it might be pure escapism, but it’s also uplifting and an absolute joy… and we certainly need more of that at present!

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