Vanessa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yes it is true: I hate joy.
Okay but seriously, of all the movies you could fight about, y'all chose this? This is the movie nobody is allowed to dislike? Are you sure that there weren't any better candidates than La La Land? I'm honestly confused right now. I can see why it might appeal to some people but at the same time I don't think that it will ever become a classic because it's just not original enough.
Sometimes you just dislike movies for no reason, simply because they don't resonate with you at all and especially when it comes to musicals it's pretty easy that they hit the wrong note. La La Land has actually been on top of my watchlist for the longest time but then I saw the trailer and disliked it so much that I probably wouldn't have watched the movie if it weren't a serious Oscar contender. Now you may ask why the fuck I wasted an entire afternoon at the cinema instead of waiting until it leaks even though I had better things to do. The answer is I'm an idiot and I though maybe I would like it after all and then I would have regretted watching it at home.
First of all La La Land was less irritating than the trailer but there were still some scenes (The beginning, the dance in space, the "what could their relationship have been like" part) that I absolutely loathed.
At no point of the movie did I feel any kind of connection with the characters or cared what would happen to them. They were the actress and the jazz guy and I'm still not sure if they had any characteristics apart from that. I think I might have liked La La Land if it weren't a musicals and if instead of the songs Chazelle had actually taken the time to develop the characters' personalities and their relationship and let them grow apart instead of just letting their relationship end.
Apart from that the main reason why I didn't like the movie was the music. As I said before, it's pretty easy for musicals to hit the wrong note but I think the songs could have improved a lot if there were better singers in the movie. I don't have a problem with bad singers in musicals - as long as they don't take themselves seriously and I'm not supposed to either. Emma Stone was good in one song (the one at the audition) and even then she was average at best, and don't get me started on Ryan Gosling. The only good singer in the movie was, of course, John Legend (who was also my highlight of the entire film) and he was shockingly underused. Also it's kinda ironic that Sebastian looks down on John Legend's character's music but the song at the concert was the only one I really liked - except for Tainted Love, which, obviously, doesn't count because it's just background noise.
The only reason why the rating isn't worse is the cinematography and editing, which are by far the best and most memorable things about La La Land and made the movie better than it was, because half of the time I was so impressed by the tracking shots and the camera movements that I forgot to pay attention to the mediocre singing and dancing.
Maybe I shouldn't have watched a musical that is supposed to be a homage to Old Hollywood musicals and jazz if I don't like either, but then again sometimes I like homages more than the actual thing so it was worth giving it a try. Again, I get why people might like La La Land but, to quote Whiplash it's not my tempo and I don't think I'll ever watch it again. (And if somebody honked in front of my neighbours' house at night I would throw stuff at them too.)