Ok let’s talk about La La Land
Or Why I’m
very glad La La Land didn’t win the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Ok guys. It’s the first time in my life that I’m doing something like this but it’s stuck in my throat for a moment now and I think here is the best place to speak out. If you think it’s another pure hate post on La La Land, you’re wrong. It’s a very personal pov but based on very concrete elements from the movie itself. I won’t talk about the controversy about the cast and the history of jazz or anything like that. It’s more about the picture itself and why (I’m my opinion) all the fuss about it is a bit too much. Please, read it ‘til the end, even if you already have made up your mind. I think it’s even more relatable after the Oscars.
You’re still with me? Ok, let’s put some context first :’)
1. A bad start
I had quite a bad start with La La Land. The title of an article literally spoiled me the end (thank you Internet) and I tend to be very careful about movies that have a lot of nominations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not deserved but a lot of nominations means to me that the movie could win it all. If it wins everything, then it means that it’s almost perfect in all categories but excuse me, a movie can hardly be perfect everywhere. Especially when it’s judged by a bunch of people, from the profession yes, but STILL. I’m not saying Oscars or recompenses don’t mean a thing. I’m just very careful.
2. While seeing the movie, something bothered me
When I left the theater, I felt skeptical. And when I feel skeptical, it means there is a problem. The soundtrack is 10/10 and I blasted it in my ears since then… The light and colors were astonishing, the directing looked complicated yet on point, I could see the performance from actors (all the dancing and singing)… So what’s the problem?! The problem is that I got bored. I. Got. Bored. How on earth could I get bored?! I don’t easily reach that state when I see a movie but it happened. I cry, I laugh, I feel many things but boredom. Then what happened here?
It’s easy. They sold us the movie as two different things. The first one is a magnificent tribute to the Hollywood golden age and all its specificities, including musicals. The second one is a “great love story” (don’t fight me on the “great love story thing” because it’s everywhere). Now try something for me. Confront these two concepts and see what happens. You see the blossom of a love story between two lost individuals but you can’t feel anything because the musical and theatrical aspects of the movie create detachment. I mean, seriously. What’s good about classic musicals? The love story is most of the time cringy, it’s all about the performance, the special effects from this period, the songs, the nostalgic and cheerful feeling you get when you watch it. Everything looks strangely fake but you don’t care. It’s great. But in La La Land, when you try to focus on the love story, since it looks like it’s the point here, it looks wrong. To transpose all this aesthetic nowadays through a love story between two persons that could be us is a good idea but it makes it look so wrong. Where is the emotion? Do you know this face, you know, the face you do when you watch a movie with your parents and there’s a sex scene coming up? Multiple times, I made that face. It looked too fake and cringy for me to feel anything but a slight embarassment. Do you know where I actually felt something? At the very end. [SPOILERS] When they look at each other before Emma’s character leaves. In my opinion, this very short part just saved the whole thing. But before I could let emotion take control, we had to leave the theater. I was very disappointed. And if you think I’m overdone: I felt more emotional when I saw March of the emperor 2′s trailer at the beginning than La La Land itself. I felt more emotional when I also saw Moonlight’s trailer. And I also feel more emotional when I listen to the soundtrack just by itself.
Now let’s try something else. Try to erase the first concept. All the lights, all those magical effects, all the colors and even the musical parts. What’s left? A. Very. Boring. Love. Story. Take them as individuals and you have interesting characters developments (I particularly felt a bit close to Mia when she sang for her audition) but as soon as they get together… It’s just plain. Romanticism is barely justified by fate, crossed paths and failure but it’s quite ordinary. And do you know what makes me sad? The fact that the little magic there is in this movie is mainly provided by the work on the image. If you take it off, it’s barely interesting. I really expected more.
So in a few words, La La Land was good. But it’s not revolutionary. It’s a great tribute and that’s all. I’m glad it won all these Oscars but I’m also glad it didn’t win Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. There’s no need to put this movie on a holy pedestal but there’s no need to put it in the trash too. It had potential and I wished they tried something new. A good mix of nostalgia and innovation.
Sorry if it looks messy, I tried to say a lot in a few words and i’m not even fluent in english, I hope it makes sense.