On La La Land

Some critics are saying that La La Land isn’t great, that it’s overrated. But when I watched it cried through the movie, sat there and cried through the credits, and walked and cried all the way to the taxi stand. So go away, haters. It’s not supposed to drastically challenge the conventions of musical theatre or whatever. It’s a nostalgic film. It takes those conventions and puts its own wistful modern spin on it with vibrant, deliberately unrealistic colours and animation that let us feel precisely that dream-like, irrecoverable quality of the Musicals era. And it doesn’t have to be absolutely realistic (I mean look at the poster – it doesn’t even try). Complaining about the film’s veracity is completely missing the point. This film, like traditional musicals, is meant to provide wish fulfilment, which it does, kind of; but more than that, and this is what makes it such a great film, it’s meant to also make us see our lack, how far we are from that wish fulfilment. That’s why the actors are not pro singers. That’s why it chooses to ignore most aspects of the present, giving you the illusion that you’re in the past with them, until you see the YouTube clips and smartphone calls that intrude on this dream and rudely wake you to the dismal present. Which is felt even more strongly precisely because the film doesn’t suspend disbelief all the way. We feel, as the film wants us to feel, that we are living in a desert; a cold unfriendly world devoid of art and understanding, where dreams are killed and people nitpick on great films for minor (and completely unrelated) oversights like not casting a black man as the jazz-saving protagonist or not having gay characters in them.


Author: ckye

Celine Low, a.k.a. Ckye, is a writer and creative writing tutor with an Honours degree in English Literature. Her fictional works have been published by The Bride of Chaos and Marshall Cavendish, and she posts regularly on Twitter and Instagram on an eternal quest to capture both beauty and sublimity through her words. An academic at heart, she also enjoys reading and writing research papers, as she finds a rather masochistic pleasure in gnawing on the musings of wise old philosophers or critics. She aims to travel the world one day, and hopes that the Northern Lights look as good as they do in Google wallpapers.

2 thoughts on “On La La Land

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