A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. (IMDb)
Nominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Ryan Gosling), Leading Actress (Emma Stone), Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing (Damien Chazelle), Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song (2), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Original Screenplay (Damien Chazelle)
This was the one I was most curious to see. On one hand, I’m hearing rave reviews, it’s sweeping up award nominations, on the other, I’m hearing that it’s completely mediocre and the singing and dancing was not up to par. Granted, the latter mostly came from friends who try to make their living doing the singing and dancing thing. My stance? I am firmly in the middle. As someone who enjoys movies, this was a fun callback to Old Hollywood, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have chemistry for days, and this was visually beautiful to watch. As also a theatre and musical lover, I found the music bland and the dancing underwhelming. The good things first. Damn this was beautiful to watch. The way modern LA was blended with the Old Hollywood look was awesome. Gosling and Stone, while not the strongest singers and dancers, have charm and chemistry for days and they excelled in the acting portion of the movie, which was more important honestly. The singing and dancing were extra. Which is honestly why I found it a little bland possibly. I would be curious to hear this music sung by powerhouse Broadway singers. Everything in this movie sounded a little tinny. The only musical moment that truly forwarded the plot was Stone’s audition song, which was done nicely. She also got the chance to actually sing for the first time in the whole movie, instead of the whispery thing she was doing previously. The tap dance sequence on the hill was cute, but could have been spectacular. In this, it was just cute. So. Did I loathe this movie like some of my industry friends? No. I quite enjoyed it. But, I do think there was room for improvement.