Review: La La Land

What is La La Land? I believe if you asked that question an answer you would probably get is:

La La Land is the odds on favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars in a few weeks

That answer is not wrong since, I’ve had a feeling about this movie for months in how it was advertised and the rumors swirling about it since won big at Film Festivals but in seeing it and after seeing it, the question remains: “What is La La Land?”

The question isn’t unanswered. In fact, you could pull around 100 answers to that one question and you could not be wrong either way.

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Image by Lionsgate

In watching this completely original musical masterminded by Damien Chazelle, I learned that this movie is, at it’s core, a love letter. You could interpret La La Land as an homage to the classical musicals of old like Singing in the Rain or Swing Time or a tribute to the love of classical jazz music and you couldn’t be wrong if that is how you want to answer the question of what La La Land is.

This is a movie about dreamers. Sebastian is an aspiring jazz pianist and Mia is an aspiring actress who can’t help but run into each other, either in the infamous traffic jams of Los Angeles, a party, a bar and the chemistry between the two is undeniable. As they work to try and realize their dreams, they navigate the pitfalls and perils that come with their aspirations, so La La Land can also be a message to dreamers that their dreams will come with rejection and failure and the option can be there to abandon their goals and grow up but when you get there, it’s beautiful.

La La Land can also be a shining demonstration of the incredible on-screen chemistry and talents of Ryan Gosling, as Sebastian, and Emma Stone, as Mia, who will be tapping, belting out, twirling and romancing their way to the Oscars in a few months. I believe that La La Land is the third film in which Gosling and Stone co-star together and they perhaps deliver the best performances of their careers!

I think that if La La Land has a weakness, it’s probably that it isn’t an ensemble picture. Granted there are actors in this film outside Gosling and Stone, such as Rosmarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, John Legend, Jason Fuchs, Finn Wittrock and Josh Pence but it’s practically Gosling and Stone’s picture from start to finish.

La La Land will stand at the forefront of being the most technically dynamic films of the year! Damien Chazelle’s impeccable writing and direction could be described as the skeletal structure of the film, Gosling and Stone’s performance the beating heart, the outstanding score and soundtrack of Justin Hurwitz the muscles, the cinematography of Linus Sandgren, the nervous system, the picture-perfect editing of Tom Cross could be the healthy and well-maintained skin; La La Land is an exquisite body of work!

Also worthy of note is the lush and vibrant production design of David Wasco, the costume design of Mary Zophres and the sound team!

This quote from La La Land should practically sum up the entire movie:

This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!

I guarantee you that you will be either singing or humming a melody from this movie on your way back home! The soundtrack and the song list is so catchy, it sticks with you; “Audition”, “City of Stars”, “A Lovely Night” “Someone in the Crowd” or “Another Day of Sun”, these songs will take you and have you hooked!

La La Land is definitely many things; a love letter, an exquisite body of work, a nostalgic throwback, a beautiful marriage of film and music, a demonstration of amazing performances, a technical marvel, exciting, captivating, gorgeous, tragic, but if there is anything I want audiences to take away from La La Land, it’s that it’s a movie that raises a glass to it’s tagline: Here’s to the fools who dream!

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