I was looking over my movie-watching log before sitting down to write this post, and it turns out that this was an exceptional movie year for me. I watched all of the Mad Max movies, I rewatched Galaxy Quest after far too long, I finally saw Groundhog Day, and I went to the theatre enough times that I have three stand-outs from among the year’s new releases. The three are: Arrival, Love & Friendship, and La La Land. You’ve already talked about Arrival (so beautiful, so heart-breaking, so uplifting, I loved it), so I’ll tell you about Love & Friendship and La La Land.
Love & Friendship is hilarious, and I saw it twice in theatres in the space of a week. The main character, Lady Susan, talks and runs circles around everyone else, and is the most manipulative and delightful person I’ve seen on screen in ages. She’s awful and I love her. At the beginning of the movie she has everyone absolutely wrapped around her finger, and even though the others have largely learned how to play the game by the end, she still gets everything that she wants. She’s someone who would normally be powerless and subservient – she’s a relatively poor widowed mother – but she uses her wit and cunning to get by and it is so much fun to watch. It’s based on a book by Jane Austen, which my cousin is now reading and says is just as excellent as the movie is, and I’ve added it to my to-read list. Here’s the trailer, please watch this movie, you will not regret it I promise.
I saw La La Land on Boxing Day. I knew it was going to be at least reminiscent of some of my favorite old musicals – The Pirate, Singing in the Rain, basically just any Gene Kelly movie – and it ended up being this exuberant and lovely look at movies and music and Los Angeles and it was built almost exactly like a classic movie musical, complete with a nonsensical dream-like dance number in the middle. I’m still at the point where I only have superlatives to describe it, since it was only a few days ago that I saw it. It was gorgeous, it was smart, it was so well lit, the songs were beautiful, I want all of Emma Stone’s clothes, I should probably take up tap-dancing, what an excellent film. It’s joyful and it’s poignant and JUST SO GOOD. I don’t know if you would like it, but that may be a result of Drive differences.