Tuesday 12 December 2017

How 'La La Land' captured the hearts of men - but left me cold with its patronising mansplaining

La La Land stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone Picture: PA
La La Land stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone Picture: PA

Meadhbh McGrath

Well, it's official. 'La La Land' has won the Baftas, the Golden Globes - all that's left is the Oscars, where it's up for a record-equalling 14 awards. It is indisputably the film sensation of the year. Critics love it! Audiences love it! Your dad loves it! It's been hailed as a "classic of the future" and earned five-star reviews across the globe (including in this newspaper).

With those endorsements ringing in my ears, I expected to leave the cinema breathless and bedazzled. But as the film wound down to its final moments, I wondered why I didn't feel like I was waltzing in the stars at the Griffith Observatory. Zoning out during Emma Stone's deeply underwhelming 'Audition' song, I heard the distinct sound of muffled weeping, and realised the teary audience members surrounding me were all men.

'La La Land' is a gorgeous film, with some delightful set pieces, but for some reason it has struck a powerful cord with men - straight, white men in particular. How has this pleasant escapist musical captured these poor blokes' hearts so fully that they are declaring it the most extraordinary work of the last year, nay, the last decade?

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