I think I was about sixteen when I first saw Singin’ in the Rain. It was probably a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I remember being stuck indoors on my own, lonely and bored with a mountain of ironing to do. Ten minutes into the film I actually had to stop ironing and sit down, worried that I was inevitably going to burn a hole in something because I just couldn’t keep my eyes off the TV screen. When it had finished, it left me with such an indescribable warm and fuzzy feeling that I immediately went online and bought the DVD, and watched it again when it arrived in the post a few days later. It’s been my favourite film ever since.
I watch a lot of movies, and often I’ll experience that amazing warm and fuzzy feeling as I once did that rainy Sunday afternoon, but none more so than when I went to see La La Land last Tuesday. I’d had my eye on it for a few months having read about it in an upcoming releases blog sometime last summer, and had even attempted to buy tickets to see it at the London Film Festival in November, but unfortunately they sold out in seconds.
Since its release, it has received overwhelming praise from audiences and critics from across the world, scooping up a whopping seven awards at the Golden Globes – more than any other film ever. It has also received 11 Academy Award nominations, and has been hailed by many as the best movie of the year so far.
With this in mind you could say I was pretty excited to finally catch a screening, but I also entered the cinema with trepidation – with all the hype I could easily end up disappointed and underwhelmed.
Thankfully, I wasn’t – god I wasn’t. It was everything I had hoped it would be, and then some. As soon as the end credits rolled, I knew that I could quite easily watch it all again from start to finish. The music, the dancing, the acting, the costumes, the scenery, the ambience and tone, and sensational chemistry were all absolutely astounding, and I had instantly been taken back to that first time I watched Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor singing ‘Fit As A Fiddle’ in Singin’ in the Rain on that rainy Sunday afternoon.
Even though both films have different storylines and outcomes, they’re similar in that they tell tales of Hollywood romance within a Hollywood setting, and how the big and wonderful world of movies can affect a person’s behaviour and morals, and how this impacts those around them. Both movies are equally sharp and clean, not just in terms of their dialogue, but in each physical movement – the way the actors walk and interact with each other is all so carefully constructed and put together, and yet not in any way contrived or robotic.
Everything from the dancing (and even though Stone and Gosling haven’t a patch on Kelly and Reynolds, they aren’t meant to), to the look and feel of the films is so polished and breathtakingly beautiful – in particular, the scene on the hill where Mia and Sebastian, the leads in La La Land, dance with the backdrop of LA’s “magic hour”, as the sun sets on the Hollywood hills.
I’d never thought I’d find a movie that came close to Singin’ in the Rain, nor one that left me with that same level of warmth and fuzziness, and yet La La Land has achieved this and more. I have a feeling it’s a film that will stay with me for a very long time.