'La La Land': The big winner at the Golden Globes you might actually feel comfortable taking your family to see
Posted January 11
It’s no secret that “La La Land” cleaned house at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.
The original musical movie, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as star-crossed lovers, secured seven victories at the Golden Globes, winning in all the categories it was nominated for, according to BBC News.
“La La Land” became the winningest film in Golden Globes history with all of the victories, The Huffington Post reported. Previously films like “Doctor Zhivago” (1965), “Love Story” (1970), “The Godfather” (1972), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), and “A Star is Born” were tied with five total award victories.
More domination may be on the way as the film received 11 nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, which is the U.K.’s version of the Oscars, according to Time.
But “La La Land” is more than just a film that sweeps award shows. Family movie critics said the movie is rather clean, good enough for adults and older children who seek family-friendly entertainment.
See, the film is mostly about love and creativity, according to The Washington Post, which is a change of pace for modern films, which are often packed with violence and sexuality.
In fact, “La La Land” takes an unoriginal storyline — that tried and true boy meets girl narrative — and flips it into something new and fresh, according to Common Sense Media.
Though the film does delve into heartbreak, a sometimes dark territory for lovers, it’s painted in vibrant colors and brightness, something also fresh for moviegoers of today. In fact, Common Sense Media gave the film three stars for its positive role models and positive messages categories.
The splashes of color may be a central part of the theme, too, providing a positive message about how to handle life that parents may want to share with their children.
“You need light to find the darkness — and the darkness to appreciate what's bright. La La Land will take your breath away and break your heart, even as it helps you find an even deeper capacity for love,” according to Common Sense Media.
The movie’s cleanliness sat well with some moviegoers, too. Viewers said that film could have been rated PG had it not been for the swear words.
“Loved this movie and was pleasantly surprised by how relatively clean it is!” wrote Marie463, a commenter on Common Sense Media. “Although it would certainly be fine for little ones to view (keeping in mind the few cautions listed in the main review above), it likely would not keep their attention for long. I honestly wonder if the few swear words were inserted mainly to help lift this movie out of the PG realm.”
However, The Washington Post’s review said the film contains some themes that may be harder for younger audiences to interpret, like “underemployment, feeling lost in the early years of your career, questioning your abilities and fighting to stay in the moment while searching for your purpose.”
The film also includes some light social drinking, characters kissing and waking up in bed together and one of use of F-word, according to the Post.
The movie does include crude gestures and verbal conflicts that sometimes spin out into heated arguments, according to Parent Previews, but does not extend beyond domestic dispute.
Still, it seems reviewers are sure that the film bordered the line between PG and PG-13, and could have come close to the former rating had it not been for those swear words.
“Even better, this sensory treat is relatively clear of content concerns,” according to Parent Previews' review of the film. “In fact, were it not for the singular use of a sexual expletive, along with the aforementioned finger gesture (which is seen again in flashback), this movie would be PG material. It is obviously implied that Mia and Sebastian are living together (we see them in bed a couple of times), but sexual depictions are limited to kisses and hugs.”
This is a welcome change for modern hit movies. A 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics found PG-13 movies has contained just as much or more violence than R-rated films since 2009.
In fact, in 2012, there was more violence in PG-13 films than R-rated movies. Most of the violence surrounded gun use, according to the study.
To find this, the study looked at 945 different movies that represented the top 30 grossing films from 1950 to 2012.
Researchers said that it’s likely the increase in violence appeals to young viewers.
“We predict that youth will be more interested in acquiring and using guns after exposure to gun violence in films,” said Brad Bushman, a co-author of the study, according to Deadline. “It’s shocking how gun use has skyrocketed in movies that are often marketed directly at the teen audience. … It appears sex scenes are more likely to result in an R rating than scenes of violence.”
Both parents and researchers have expressed concerns over the climb in violence, and the nature of PG-13 movies themselves. In fact, critics have also wondered why the PG-13 rating even exists because some content involved in those movies are dark enough to be rated R.
Critics like Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan point to films like “X-Men: Apocalypse” — “which features decapitations and slit throats,” according to Pacific Standard, and only got a PG-13 rating when it was worthy of the R-rating.
But movies like “La La Land” point to a more colorful future. And it seems the Motion Picture Association of America, which comes up with the movie rating system, may soon change its tune, assuming parents do their part to speak out for more family-friendly films.
MPAA vice president of corporate communications Chris Ortman told Pacific Standard that changes will come as the culture shifts.
“This system has withstood the test of time because, as American parents’ sensitivities change, so too does the rating system,” he told Pacific Standard. “Elements such as violence, language, drug use and sexuality are continually re-evaluated through surveys and focus groups to mirror contemporary concern and to better assist parents in making the right family viewing choices.”