La La Land
“Here’s to the fools who dream.”
Not only is this the movie’s tagline, but it’s also a remarkable quote from the female protagonist played by the indelible Emma Stone. The tagline perfectly captures the essence of the movie, its purpose in modern Hollywood, and cinema as a whole.
First and foremost, I had been waiting to see this film since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August; Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the festival and as a result I had to wait several months until I could view Damien Chazelle’s spectacle. Damien Chazelle’s name now precedes him in my books. Whiplash was my favorite film of 2014, and I was dying to see his newest film that had reportedly been in development since 2010. This turned out to be one of the best film experiences I’ve ever had. To this day, La La Land is the only film I have ever watched three times in one day, and here’s why.
Starting with the deity himself, Damien Chazelle’s direction is effortlessly flawless, regaling us with his artistic vision and love for the musical genre through colorful one-take shots and powerful emotional set-pieces. You can truly sense that this film is the director’s brainchild , and his true passion project. Chazelle put his entire soul into the movie, and it shows; this results in a movie bursting with emotion, color and serious stakes.
The acting is simply terrific. Can I move on? But in all seriousness, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling could not have better chemistry. This is their third film together, so one should expect they’d gotten the hang of it by now, but no, they have mastered it. As for their individual performances, Emma Stone had a very demanding role, filled with contrasting emotions and a load of singing and dancing numbers, and boy did she deliver. Ryan Gosling had a similar challenge, but his character played something of a second fiddle to Emma Stone’s. Regardless, he managed to make me laugh, smile and nearly tear up throughout the whole film, with his unconditional love for Jazz.
Oh! Did I forget to mention that this movie is a musical? Yes, an entertaining, original musical in the 21st century, almost unheard of. The music in this movie is just enchanting. I have been listening to the soundtrack nonstop for the past week, and I cannot get the songs out of my head. The musical numbers in this film dazzle and excite, proving that the modern day musical can work with elements from the Golden age of cinema. I recall, after the day when I watched this film three times (I still wasn’t sick of it) I went back to watch and analyse the musical sequences, to watch the choreography alone. Simply. Splendid. Just perfection.
The movie has an admittedly Cliche storyline, but Chazelle turns it on its head for the finale, and delivers an unforgettable scene that cements this film as one of the greatest musicals of all time. As for the writing itself, I thought it was incredibly involving, and the characters were sweet and lovable for the most part. Ultimately, following whiplash, I did not think Chazelle could make another one of my favorite movies of all-time, but he’s done it again. This film is easily one of my all-time favorites.
Score: Acting: 10
Story telling: 10
Character Development: 10
Standing alone: 10