La La Land (2016) ★★★★★

“Someone in the Crowd” could take you where you want to go. 

Aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone), works as a barista in a coffee shop on the Warner Bros studio lot. She dreams of becoming an actress, but spends too much of her time auditioning for bad roles. Meanwhile, struggling jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), hopes to open his own Jazz club one day. The two fall in love and strive to chase their dreams in the city of Los Angeles.

The industry have been in desperate need of a modern masterpiece this year– the supply has run dangerously low. Now we have one. La La Land is an enchanting piece of film that everyone should experience, no matter how your personal taste may differ. It’s not all sunsets, singing and cool cars. It is a tale of romance, wrapped in a homage to old Hollywood films. The opening scene makes one question whether the film is going to be a complete flop. This is soon saved by the remainder of the film, which is an innovative creation in style and substance – a real gem that will stand the test of time.

Chazelle, and particularly his two leads, can only be applauded, with Mia and Sebastian’s relationship remaining so convincing. Stone and Gosling hold that rare connection and chemistry, each giving an effortlessly eloquent performance. The fact alone that Ryan Gosling learned to play the piano for the role, is all the more impressive. Watch out for JK Simmons’s entertaining cameo – odd, but evokes laughter nonetheless. Supporting characters are less rounded, but Chazelle’s focal point is the two leading stars; attention does not deviate from either of the two, and rightly so.

In typical Chazelle fashion, the film’s visual style is compelling, with stunning splashes of bright colour, dazzling costume choices, and a dynamic camera that keeps you on your toes. Each shot is so cleverly crafted to enhance the significance of the details. It juxtaposes a modern day setting, but a has wonderful Old Hollywood feel, referencing “Rebel Without a Cause” in particular. The catchy soundtracks simply aid in this standout trip to the silver screen. From the intimate “City of Stars”, to the toe-tapping “Someone in the Crowd” and “Another Day of Sun”, La La Land exudes charm.

The second you exit through those swinging cinema doors, La La Land takes immediate effect. It will have you breaking into song and sliding along the floor in attempt to imitate the dance moves you just witnessed on screen. One of the year’s best, with compelling camerawork and flawless cinematography. Given its nostalgic heart, it might well surpass them all.

17 thoughts on “La La Land (2016) ★★★★★

  1. Fantastic review!
    I was torn between a 9 or 10/10 when I first watched it, but I have listened to every song at least 20 times since and I seem to be loving the film more somehow.
    I hope Chazelle decides to do another modern musical as he is clearly adept in this film genre, plus it is better than having remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels and every comic book character being made into a film, which seem to be the only things Hollywood make these days.
    Singin’ in the Rain has always been my favourite musical, but I think over time and countless watches, this could overtake it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Given its nostalgic heart, it might well surpass them all”. This is indeed the heart of its brilliance. Not a masterpiece, just a superbly conceived film that celebrates Hollywood like a deity. The genre is re-born.

    Liked by 1 person

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