La La Land: On Second Viewing

Rarely do I ever see a film in theatres again so soon after my first viewing. Admittedly, La La Land was not my first choice. I was taking my mother to the theatres today to see Hidden Figures, but it was sold out, which I wasn’t really prepared for a noon showing on a Sunday to do. So, kudos to Hidden Figures for blasting my expectations. However, I needed to find a new selection, one that I thought my mother would enjoy. Even though I had already seen it, my clear choice was La La Land. It has been less than a month since the first time I saw it in theatres, and even when I’ve seen a movie twice in theatres, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it twice in under 30 days. Usually it’s a film that runs a long time, like Frozen, which I saw once in November, and then again in February. I still knew that I would be in love with the music enough for it to interest me. In case you missed my original review of La La Land here it is.

On second viewing, I became more appreciative of everything. It was no longer new to me. I found myself paying more careful attention to Gosling playing the piano, or Emma Stone’s facial expressions during Audition. I still think the film can be trimmed a bit, that didn’t change. It still felt a bit longer than it needed to be, but the spectacle still got me. I loved the big dance numbers. I loved the music. I appreciated the performances from Gosling and Stone more, and I loved the ending more than I did the first time. I knew they weren’t going to end up together, and when that expectation was already gone in the second viewing, I was able to appreciate the ending for what it was.

La La Land is exactly the kind of daring film risk that our filmmakers should be making. I can’t think of the last time a live-action original musical blew me away like this. It pays such tribute to those that came before it, while still trying to make its own beat, and it succeeds gloriously.

If you haven’t seen La La Land, there’s never been a better time. It’s going to win a few Golden Globes tonight, you can bet on it.

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