La La Land is a 2016 American romantic musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (Mia) as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film’s title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.
So this is the big hit of 2016 (!). It’s been nominated for 14 Oscars and appears to be the film everyone is raving about.
My only theory for it’s popularity is that it comes after a depressing time in American history (the election) and it’s formula works at this time and place.
The film has lots of problems. The characters aren’t engaging and the plot feels like every other romantic comedy (but without the funny bits). After half-way through I partially lost interest. There are a few inventive sequences, one in a planetarium and another near the end.
As for the music –
The score feels like a continuous collection of symphonic cliches.
The songs are generally OK and they do appear to employ professional singers in the minor roles. Like Mia, I hated the self-indulgent Jazz snob Sebastian likes. It was only when John Legend performs that the music has some life in it.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are only average singers. It couldn’t have been difficult to find better singer/actors. What was Sutton Foster doing at the time ? As for an alternative male lead, I can think of a few Court Theatre actors that could have done better.