When a movie gets 14 nominations to the academy awards equaling Titanic another iconic film of our times the comparison bug bites you. This is a movie about aspirations, Love and it is also a musical. Hollywood loves musicals and even better if it concerns Hollywood itself. So is it any good? lets find out.
When you direct a musical Hollywood has a tendency to fantasize unlike Bollywood which can have song and dance sequence in almost all movies. In fact without music and dance there is no Bollywood cinema. There is lot of fantasy here with walking on and under the stars. The use or lights, shadows and closeup shorts couple with music and vocals create a mesmerizing effect. This is quite reminiscent of the old school direction. I remember Bollywood’s own legendary director Guru Dutt using this technique in his films like Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool & Chaudhvin Ka Chand. Then there is the near love affair of Damien Chazelle with Jazz. I did like Whiplash last year with was based on a story of a Jazz Drummer. So to summaries the technical bit it is all very good and lot of scope for awards.
What about acting? Well there are only two people to talk about here Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone. Now Ryan Gosling is a natural when it comes to musicals and his dedication shows as he learned to play the Piano just for this movie. He was effortless and deserves an award unless tipped by a better performance. But I can’t say the same thing for Emma Stone. She looked bit uncomfortable and you can see she is try to do her best but in doing so she is a bit over the top even for musical standards.
My biggest problem with La La Land is its story. There is nothing new or surprising here. It is a same old story of two people struggling in Hollywood crossing path in their journey to success. Story is weak and I will be surprised if tops this category. If I had to guess how many Oscars this film should get then apart from best actor and best director/movie (only one here) mostly the technical once and for music. Total 8 to 9 put of 14. It will not top Titanic which has 11 in its kitty.
Overall it is a good movie but not great.
*Poor ** Below Average ***Average ****Good *****Very Good