03 June 2017

Movie Review: "La La Land"

Rated: PG-13 for some language
Starring: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Released: December 16, 2016
Synopsis: Mia (Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man) is a barista with one very big aspiration: to become an actress in Tinseltown.  Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a big jazz fan with hopes of opening up his own jazz club one day.  When they meet, love blooms, and they soon become an item...but, when problems arise, their relationship is soon put to the test.  Can their love survive in the midst of their grand aspirations?

The Good: I'm pretty sure this is the first movie I've seen that was even nominated for Best Picture since Toy Story 3.  Usually, I avoid such flicks for obvious reasons, but, my sources said that this was cleaner than usual for "PG-13" fare, so, I checked it out.  Production-wise, I wasn't disappointed.  An excellent soundtrack, great acting from the two leads, exhilarating visuals...what's not to like?

The Bad: As good as this is, I do have some complaints.  While this is not one of those should-have-been-R films, discerning viewers may take issue with this movie nonetheless.  There's right many profanities, including one f-word, and the two leads have an implied sexual relationship outside of marriage.  One scene even shows someone flipping someone else off, which is later repeated in a flashback.  Outside of the content, despite the appearance of this film as a musical, much of the storytelling is done via instrumental montages.  [Spoiler Warning!] The biggest issue I had, though, was with the ending.  An epilogue that tells us what happens "five years later" doesn't make any sense; we see them going on a date at a club, then their future is laid out before us, then they're on the way to the same date again.  How did this get nominated for Best Picture? [End Spoilers]

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: An implied sexual relationship between the two leads.
  • Nudity: Women are seen in bikinis at a pool party; Mia wears some backless gowns.
  • Language: Eight or so misuses of God's name, including two "g------ms" and one "my Lord".  Four s-words, four a-words, one d-word, one p-word, and one f-word, alongside two middle-finger gestures.
  • Violence: None.
  • Drugs: People are seen drinking alcoholic beverages in several scenes.
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Multiple scenes of emotional intensity.
Conclusion: Unless they fall into the superhero, sci-fi/fantasy, or Christian genres, I rarely watch "PG-13" films.  Among discerning viewers and possibly others, movies with that rating are known for getting the reaction, "That should have been rated 'R'!" While I wouldn't say that about this flick, I still didn't enjoy it that well.  Even with the language and sexual implications eliminated, it wasn't that great of a film, especially when it came to the ending.  If you haven't seen this yet, I would caution you: No matter what your rules are about what you will and won't watch...you can do better.

Score: 2/5

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