Hi there! I know I promised to post this on Monday but a sneaky English essay popped up out of nowhere and I got sidetracked. But a day late isn’t too bad. I saw this movie a few weeks ago and simply had to review it, so without further ado, let’s get into it:
The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. With modern day Los Angeles as the backdrop, this musical about everyday life explores what is more important: a once-in-a-lifetime love or the spotlight. (courtesy of the Internet).
IMDb rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
My reasons for seeing this film are simple: it got amazing reviews and the critics were singing its praises so much that I simply couldn’t resist. So I bought myself a ticket, went to see it and hoped that I would fall into the category of people who loved it. And I’m happy to say that I did.
For any fan of musicals, this movie has everything that you need. Beautifully choreographed numbers, catchy songs and that feeling of spontaneity and glamour when the characters flow across the screen as if singing and dancing is completely normal. For non-lovers of musicals, rest assured that this movie is so much more than just song and dance. It’s a tale of following one’s dreams and juggling everything life throws at you, be it failure, success or simply love. This movie has romance, but it’s so much more than a romantic musical.
Like it says above, we follow the journeys of two individuals who struggle to follow their dreams. Their lives coincidentally intertwine to create somewhat of a whirlwind romance, and the movie uses a number of symbols to represent their relationship, such as a recurring piece of music or choreographed dances. This adds a beautiful hint of surrealism to the movie, but in such a way that the cinematography leaves you speechless. It’s just like watching a painting come to life; everything is in place for a reason and carefully planned out. The whole movie, from its Hollywood setting to its throwbacks to the Jazz age and classic musicals, is colourful, enriching and heartbreaking all at once. I was hooked from the very first musical number, just because it was so unlike what you’d expect in any other movie. It blends music and dance so seamlessly with the plot, it’s amazing.
Should it have won movie of the year at the Oscars?* I would love to say yes, but realistically I’m saying no, despite the fact that I loved it. Why? Because I feel like it requires a certain amount of patience to enjoy, and for people who don’t like musicals or movies about dreaming big in Hollywood, it can be testing. I loved all the symbolism and connections I found in it, but an audience seeking a different type of entertainment would be easily bored. I have seen mixed reviews from people who AREN’T professional critics, and it’s clear where tastes differ. Some people don’t want a layered musical, because it just isn’t entertaining to them. I completely understand this. It definitely isn’t for everyone, and I understand why it could be seen as overhyped. I think that if you have any interests in films centred around what it takes to succeed in your career, then this film is for you.
*Quick aside: that Oscars blunder had me suffering from such secondhand embarrassment it felt like I was up on stage, oh my God….I think the backlash if it had won would have been out of this world though…
My only complaint would be that the film didn’t push the musical aspect as much during the second half, and I began to forget that it was a musical. But it makes up for this during the ending, which is by far the film’s strongest point. It isn’t what you expect, but it brilliantly raises the question of “what if?” in a sense that will leave you sad, but understanding. I loved it. And I admit it, I cried.
The actors were amazing. Some people aren’t happy that neither Ryan Gosling nor Emma Stone are particularly great singers, but I really don’t think this is the point. Music is used to help convey emotion and tell the story of their relationship, and neither of them wish to be singers so it kind of makes sense that they’re not professionals. The amount of work they put into the choreography alone is really amazing, and their chemistry really shined through.
So, like I said, it won’t suit everyone. It’s very easy to find the film boring, unless you know what to expect. If you like musicals, watch it! If you’ve seen the trailer and have even the slightest interest (like I did), definitely give it a go.
My rating: 8/10 stars
And that’s it for today! I’ll probably have two reviews out sometime this week, plus a nice thoughts-on post I’ve been thinking about. Thanks for reading!