What I’m Watching: La La Land

I recently found this 2016 academy award winning musical-movie in the library, where I get most of my movies. It is a whimsical, sweet, and also slow-paced contemporary take on the Hollywood musical romantic comedy of yore. Imagine romance when life is uncertain while starting out. Because it had a great ending that I won’t reveal, I’ll say I’m glad I watched it; it was pleasant overall. However, the movie’s focus on panoramic scenes lost track of telling the story through people, and this made the slow paced movie even slower.

La La Land won Academy Awards for best actress by Emma Stone, best cinematography, best director, and in three other categories, in the year it came out. I am no expert on musicals or shooting movies, but the cinematography surprisingly stayed away from close-ups in the dialogue and the dancing and was a detriment in my humble opinion to this film. When Emma Stone could be seen, her deeply felt, dramatic expressiveness within the context of playing an ordinary person, yet aspiring actress, was quite captivating. For example, a red-and-white striped couch was in the forefront of the visual presentation rather than the talking roommates next to it in one scene, or sometimes the dancing was shot from such a distance it was barely visible and more of a mood than a performance. La La Land displays a contemporary American focus on things over people, in this regard.

For contemporary musicals, Everyone Says I Love You (1996) by Woody Allen stands out as far superior, as well as the movie of the Broadway musical Into the Woods (2014).

It is always fun to check stuff out from the library and explore.

G. H. Mosson