By Eddy Montilla.
Directed by: Damien Chazelle.
Written by: Damien Chazelle.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers).
Starring: Emma Stone (Mia) and Ryan Goslin (Sebastian)
Running Time: 128 minutes.
”What movie will win tonight?” A. M. asked me.
”Moonlight.” I said.
”But how can Moonlight win if La La Land is the clear and great favorite with the public and critics?” She asked me again.
”The same thing happened to Trump and now he is the president of USA”.
Despite having scored a record-equalling 14 nominations, there are good reasons to explain why this joyous musical did not win Best Picture at the Oscars and, above all, why it is behind other films of its genre. It might be seen as a mere conjecture, but several incidents show that a lot of people in the movie world (like Meryl Streep, for example) are not happy at all with Trump’s behavior and policies. Moonlight, Mahershala Ali and others as winners reflect better than La La Land the discontent mentioned before. But let’s just be clear on this idea in order to prevent any misunderstandings: I am not saying that those winners did not deserve to win; actually, they did. It is just that the context in which they were provided a little extra help for them.
The most important reasons, however, were cinematographic factors rather than social or political issues. In my opinion, you don’t even need your five fingers of one hand to count the greatest musicals of all time: Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Sound of the Music (1965), Oliver (1968) and Les Misérables (2012). The first three films have showed their quality by being tested through the inexorable passing of time; the last one is still young, but deeper and with better plot than their predecessors. La La Land cannot even be compared with any of these group. Let’s see the why of it.
A musical comedy is the most difficult genre to judge since all things do not only spin around the plot, like other genres usually do, but around the music and humour too. To put harmoniously together these three components is quite difficult. To judge fairly the way they have been put is worse. That may very well be the reason why only 10 musicals have won the Best Picture Oscar. In La La Land (2016), some parts of the plot are connected as if the director and writer (the same person, Damien Chazelle) had no option, but to make use of filmic clichés: people dancing over cars or Ryan Gosling (Sebastian) throwing and catching his hat while dancing, etc. With these kind of things, you can get some claps and lose some Oscars.
I tip my hat to Emma Stone. She personally saved La La Land from falling into oblivion. She danced gracefully (Ryan Goslin had hard times trying to catch her when she was spinning!), sang beautifully and deserved all credits and her Oscar too. The swing of her blue dress and smile can make even and eighty-year-old man think about his glory years. The rest moves between the acceptable and good, and that’s all.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.
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