One of the most hyped up movies this award season La La Land has been described as a new classic, throwing back to the magical and fun qualities of Hollywood cinema in years past, blending nostalgia and contemporaneity in an original romantic comedy musical.
The movie tells the story of a struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone), and a dedicated jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who are each struggling to succeed in the land of dreams Los Angeles. Navigating a year of their dizzying successes, and crushing defeats it explores the joy and pain of pursuing ones destiny.
The most striking thing about La La Land is just how beautifully crafted the film it is; the story, performances, music, dance numbers, costumes, locations and cinematography all play their part in making an unforgettable cinematic experience.
Over the better part of this decade Stone has elevated herself to be among the top in her field of young actress due to her genuine likability, and talents in juggling both comedy and drama while Gosling has been on his A game since 2004’s The Notebook. Together the pair have a tangible chemistry that has seen them star as romantic partners three times!
As a musical, the film does well to focus primarily on the story, using the musical numbers sparingly to layer the experience. With an original score, the tracks are rich and beautiful with a timeless quality that feels both contemporary and sentimental. While Gosling, and Stone are not the strongest of vocalists, the numbers are still evocative, uplifting, and heartfelt.
There has not been dancing like this in a movie since the golden age of musicals where Fred and Ginger took centre stage in Top Hat, or Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor performed Singin’ in the Rain. While the pair are not expert dancers, they perform well in beautifully choreographed numbers, alongside an ample host of backing dancers.
The backdrop of LA showed to work on many levels, reflecting the young couples struggling state with cramped apartments, mediocre jobs, and hellish traffic while having the ability to glitz up for the uplifting moments. The sun rising over the city, Griffith Park observatory, and glitzy parties, the movie succeeded in choosing iconic imagery. To reflect this, the costumes are sleek, bold, and bright bursting onto screen as a character themselves.
All in all, writer and director Damien Chazelle triumphs once more after finding success with his 2014 Academy Award nominated movie Whiplash. His storytelling skills are decent, while his eye for directing has accumulated in a delightful film that is raking in the awards with universal acclaim from critics.
Our Verdict Is: Not everything in this film is perfect, but the culmination of each well-crafted element creates a cinematic delight that will draw you into the spectacular wold La La Land creates. We can’t wait for a stage version!