La La Land (2016)
Running Time: 128 minutes
Directed & Written by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt
La La Land is a musical/romantic comedy that follows a jazz pianist, Sebastian (Gosling) and an aspiring actress, Mia (Stone) set in LA. When the two finally meet, they fall in love, and the film tells the tale of their love story, from the moment they met to the moment when success comes knocking on their door. How will these two dreamers pursue their dreams while holding onto a love they never expected?
This movie is a perfect homage to the classic Hollywood films, musicals, romance, and jazz music. The chemistry between Gosling and Stone is undeniable, just like the first time they were seen together on-screen on Crazy, Stupid, Love. There is an ease to the way they fall in love with one another on-screen, the way they acted and reacted to one another. It’s simply great to watch.
The storyline itself is simple, it’s a love story set in LA, with a focus on music, specifically jazz. Yet, there is something so pure and heart-wrenching about it. Chazelle has done it again – crafting and bringing to life, a simple plot that is able to not only captivate audiences but also bring them through a journey filled with laughter and tears. But, what I really liked about this film is how much the protagonists are dreamers – it speaks volumes to anyone who has a dream, who gets knocked down time and time again trying to fulfil it, and whether you choose to carry on with it or “grow up”.
In addition, the music for the film is great – both the score and songs. Thumbs up to the composer, Justin Hurwitz, who also did the music for Whiplash (another film by Chazelle). You can’t miss Mia and Sebastian’s Theme song which was played throughout the film. Every key in that song makes you sigh.
Since it’s a musical, Gosling and Stone had the chance to sing throughout the film, most notably is their duet for the song, City of Stars.
The choreography for the dance sequences from the very first scene were cinematic and beautiful. The cinematography reminded me of Birdman a little, where the cuts between shots were little, they attempted a more fluid sequence with longer shots, which was reminiscent of older films. The colours in the scenes from the lighting to the costumes injected life to the film, it’s hard to not notice them. Speaking of costume, a shout-out to the costume department for dressing up the actors in such an elegant yet simple way that speaks volumes to who the characters are and what they are feeling.
Overall, La La Land is a beautifully crafted film. If you’re a fan of movies such as (500) Days of Summer and The Artist, then be sure to check this one out. 🙂
Rating: 8 out of 10