I need to write about La La Land. I just can’t stop thinking about it, you see.
It puzzles me. Helen H and I went to see it together. Both motivated I think by a curiosity to see what all the fuss was about. I wanted to love it but was bracing myself to hate it.
And yet from the opening sequence, I was hooked. Completely consumed. Drawn into La La Land, where I wanted to stay forever. I couldn’t stop grinning. I loved the colours, the energy, the zest for life. Somehow it all felt so vivid. Larger than life.
I loved everything about it. Even the jazz. And I’m with Mia – I hate jazz normally. The film had a dreamlike quality somehow and yet it felt wide awake, more than wide awake. More real than reality. It was all about creativity and passion; self-doubt and vulnerability; vision and compromise. It rang true on so many levels. I completely got it.
So when about halfway through, the people in front of me got up and walked out, I couldn’t believe it. I nudged Helen H and raised my eyebrows as if to say ‘What the hell? Are they for real?’
I didn’t want the film to end. I didn’t want it to be over. This feeling, this experience. I turned to Helen H in expectation and said ‘Well, what did you think?’, fulling anticipating that she would be sharing the joy.
But no. She didn’t like it at all. I thought she was joking. How could she not like it? Apparently, she would have happily walked out with the people in front of us. I couldn’t get my head round that at all. I was so confused. I’m used to us not agreeing about most stuff, but this was different. I needed her to understand what I was feeling.
On the way home in the car, I said ‘I want to live in La La Land’ and her reply was ‘You already do. You live in La La Land all the time.’ I couldn’t help hearing this as a bad thing. Like I don’t live in the real world or something.
I want to see it again. I need to see it again to see whether I got it wrong the first time. Other friends have been. Other people I felt sure would love it and yet they weren’t crazy about it at all. Indifferent even.
The review of the film in The Guardian describes it as ‘a sun-drenched musical masterpiece’. That’s the world I visited in the darkened cinema that night. Let me pick out some more words and phrases from that review – sweet-natured, full of bounce, beguiling, unapologetically romantic, poster-paint energy (I love that phrase, don’t you?), simple story-telling verve, simplicity and charm…and so it goes on. So tell me, what’s not to love?
However, please don’t take this as a recommendation. I don’t trust my opinion any more. I’ve lost faith in my judgement. I want you to see it because you may love it like I did and that would be a wonderful thing for you to experience. Or you might be asking for your money back. I really can’t be sure.
I would say this though: if any of you want to see it and have no one to see it with, let me know and I’ll happily come with you.