Yesterday idly scrolling through films that might be on at 2 o’clock, to finish before a 6pm dinner date, I noticed that La La Land was on. There’s been so much advertising and trailing of the film that I was worried it might not be much cop – but I liked the sound of it (romance, Hollywood, romance) and Peter Bradshaw gave it 5 stars in the Guardian! We didn’t book, just strolled in to find an enormous queue. It was a special preview in a packed cinema. It was just before the Golden Globe awards last night – and we agreed with their verdict. It is a lovely, feel good, romantic, smiley, quirky movie. There’s music, dancing, jazz, love and Paris. Ryan Gosling – now almost forgiven for the dreadful Nice Guys – has a lovely smile, and Emma Stone is a great wannabe, vulnerable, wide eyed, insecure and with another lovely smile. Mia (Emma Stone) works in a coffee shop on the Warner Lot and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a pianist who wants to open his own club. The story of their meeting and the start of their relationship is just what you want in a love story – unpleasantness, a bit of misunderstanding, hesitation, unity against a harsh world. And then they start dancing! The film tips its hat to the old Fred and Ginger movies, with a trip to la belle France (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort ) and of course there is more than a nod to Singin’ in the Rain.
Damien Chazelle the director also directed Whiplash. JK Simmons from Whiplash and Law and Order (and the underated but very satisfying New in Town) has a small but pivotal role. It’s always a pleasure to see those actors you vaguely recognise from your own living room.
And hurray for Meryl Streep
And with Moonlight and Manchester-by-the-Sea in the pipeline there’s a lot more to come.