La La Land movie review: Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone film perfectly captures golden age of musicals
La La Land fits the bill just right if you’re looking for a movie that a) Is constantly entertaining, b) Heart warming, c) Packed with good looking stars with unparalleled chemistry, d) Loaded with amazingly shot and choreographed song and dance numbers, and e) Makes you want to watch it again.
With the brilliant Whiplash, director Damien Chazelle demonstrated that he could bring incendiary raw emotion bursting out of the movie screens and grab your attention from start to end. It felt like Chazelle would soon be master of character based low-key dramas. So it comes as a surprise when his new movie is a full blown Bollywood style colorful song and dance love story, and it’s even more surprising that he gets all those elements better than Bollywood does.
If you’re looking for a movie that a) Is constantly entertaining, b) Heart warming, c) Packed with good looking stars with unparalleled chemistry, d) Loaded with amazingly shot and choreographed song and dance numbers, and e) Makes you want to watch it again – then La La Land fits the bill just right.
Emma Stone plays Mia, a coffee shop cashier and struggling actress trying and failing repeatedly at auditions. Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a struggling jazz pianist whose only means of making ends meet is by playing at malls and crappy Christmas songs at restaurants. Girl meets boy, girl shows interest in boy, boy falls hard for girl and as their relationship blooms you get to experience Gosling and Stone break into some exquisite song and dance numbers against gorgeous backdrops. What follows is a full blown throwback to an era in Hollywood that seems to have been forgotten, a plot device that cleverly ties in to the central story where Sebastian himself yearns for the resurgence of jazz music, a genre that seems to be dissipating as years roll by.
The first thing you’ll notice is how eye poppingly vibrant this film is. The golden age of musicals is perfectly captured by Linus Sandgren’s cinematography, David Wasco’s production design and Mandy Moore’s choreography, all of which wonderfully complement Chazelle’s solid direction. You get a full on love letter to Los Angeles which shines like a shooting star in the beginning of the film, and changes its colors as the careers of the central characters change. The story itself is compartmentalized into the names of various seasons which serve as a double entendre to how a relationship between two young people generally progresses, and if the film doesn’t totally win you over early on the bittersweet nature of the final act will do the job.
If you already liked Gosling as an actor this is the movie that will make you buy his movie posters. With Blue Valentine he proved that he could make you cry, with The Nice Guys he made you laugh your butt off, and here you get to see him effortlessly dance and charm you into submission. Surprisingly he is actually overshadowed by Stone who out emotions, out charms and out dances him in many ways and there’s a good chance she may grab onto an Oscar for her performance. Her character also has a slightly more interesting and more in depth arc than Gosling’s, but it doesn’t really matter because when they’re on screen together you get to see the perfect movie couple of modern times.
Go and watch the film on an immediate basis. Take as many people as you can. Try not to think about how this film got an A rating considering the utter lack of sex and profanity in the film.
Watch the trailer for La La Land here:
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