Jared’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've been seeing lots of "controversy" over the supposed value of La La Land vs something like Moonlight, usually insinuating that La La Land's comparative levity somehow renders it lesser. My quick two cents would that be that yes, Moonlight is a magnificent portrait of masculinity in 2017's world, with broad, valuable insights on how race, sexual preference (*orientation*) and class all influence and inform one's identity. Basically a vehicle and showcase for compassion and empathy in a world seemingly lacking both.
BUT as someone who follows politics closely and has been deeply demoralized and frankly exhausted by the tirade of immoral and idiotic happenings emerging from 2017's America; the artful optimism La La Land oozes is valuable in a whole other way. I don't think an ode to artists, dreamers and expression is devoid of relevance or value at all. I've seen the movie three times now and each viewing has left be feeling hopeful, happy and deeply moved.
Let's not diminish one film to champion another, both fulfill vastly different, albeit important functions exceptionally. Whatever film wins the big award (equally deserving is Manchester by the Sea and Arrival), this debate is stupid and poisonous. The Oscars don't decide what films endure, film fans do. It's not a binary issue, La La Land isn't the typical "Hollywood" film, in fact it's very rare films like these are made. It's emergence into the mainstream is something of a miracle. Also a miracle, though, is Moonlight's creation; which above all is a wonderful reminder of the value in telling stories of people that we don't often see in cinemas. Both films are meaningful, both hold tremendous value. I'm gonna try and fit another viewing of Moonlight in this week but whatever happens on Sunday, I'll be happy.