La La Land tells the story of aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they experience the various highs and incredible lows the City of Stars may grant you. It also stars John Legend and JK Simmons and is directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
My Thoughts On The Characters And Story
Back in September, I wrote a piece entitled “La La Land Is Gearing Up To Be One Of The Best Movies Of The Year” because of all the immense buzz the film was generating at various film festivals, particularly at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). I didn’t get a chance to watch the film until last night, a few weeks after its initial release. The main reason for the delay being every time we wanted to watch it, the suitable showtime would be all sold out. After finally getting a chance to watch it, I can safely say this is my favourite movie of 2016. I loved every single second of La La Land.
I think a major reason why I enjoyed it as much as I did is because of how huge of a fan I am of those iconic musicals, specifically the classic Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers pairings and Singin’ In The Rain, easily my favourite musical of all time. Those who aren’t generally a fan of musicals can certainly enjoy this film for its beautiful portrayal of the relationship between Mia and Sebastian, however the way the musical aspect is incorporated into it is absolutely brilliant. The incorporation of the music to progress the story along is utilized flawlessly, I would argue perfectly. Using songs to transition between scenes can either be executed beautifully or awkwardly and I am happy to say I believe La La Land falls into the former. Musicals can be seen as jarring because people randomly decide to start singing, however there was never a moment in La La Land where I felt the random burst of song was unwarranted. Each respective song enhanced the sequenced immensely plus the music used to illustrate the state of their relationship is showcased wonderfully.
The depiction of success, failure and how long it may take to reach that level of success one strives (or not!) are themes the film deals with through immaculate cinematography and music. The relationship between Stone and Gosling drives this film and because of how fleshed out they are, you feel for them if they hit rock bottom. You want to see both succeed in this industry that truly stomps on more dreams than grants them. SPOILER/MINOR ISSUE I felt like Keith (Legend) offering Sebastian the role of pianist for The Messengers was a tiny bit contrived, however it ultimately didn’t bother me as much since they already had an established prior relationship and Keith is aware of Sebastian’s skills and talent on the piano. END SPOILER.
There Are More Than Enough Disgustingly Stunning Visuals
From the very beginning with that Cinemascope shot to its final moments, I was genuinely in awe for most of this film because of how beautiful it looked. Chazelle’s impeccable direction manages to showcase as much as he possibly can by involving the rich atmosphere that ultimately becomes a character itself. Sequences that follow that tracking shot motif by focusing the camera on a character and just following them through certain instances is just so enjoyable to watch, damn it! Here is a taste of some of my favourite shots from the trailers that were so incredible to view on the big screen:
Let’s Talk About The Music…
Guys. If anything, listen to the soundtrack of this film because it is easily one of my favourite movie soundtracks. Certain jazz riffs of course reminded me of Chazelle’s 2014 Oscar-winner for Best Supporting Actor, Whiplash and every song is written and performed fantastically. The music composer for Whiplash, Justin Hurwitz composed the music for La La Land and Chazelle has found a keeper because thus far, their collaborations is 2/2 for perfection in music.
Hurwitz’s ‘Epilogue’ Encapsulates All The Glorious Sounds:
I can only hope that more filmmakers follow suit and create new worlds that follow the musical formula because I had such an enjoyable experience with La La Land. Damien Chazelle’s ability to portray individuals struggling through music is remarkable and I simply cannot wait to see what he directs next.
If you’re tired of my gushing and want to see fantastical musical numbers in a beautiful world, not to mention Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling absolutely killing it on the singing front, do a hop and a skip over to your theatre and watch La La Land.
For More Fun, Tap Your Way Over (sorry) To The Following:
- Passengers (2016) Review
- Ryan Gosling Set To Star In Upcoming Neil Armstrong Biopic
- The Nice Guys (2016) Review
La La Land receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.