La La Land – ☆☆☆☆☆ (and a few more!)
Director/Writer: Damien Chazelle
Music: Justin Hurwitz
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Nominated for 14 Academy Awards
Summary: The story of two young struggling artists, Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a jazz pianist, working to make it in the throat cutting industry of Hollywood, who fall in love with each other, amidst the trials and tribulations encountered to achieve their dreams.
Before I begin, I put your mind at ease that this review and all following reviews are completely spoiler free, so there’s no tip-toeing around this blog in fear of plot giveaways.
As I sit writing this now, I’m currently listening to one of the many amazing songs and jazz pieces that have come out of La La Land. But to pin point this film’s success to only one factor would not even serve it justice. La La Land, from beginning to end is a series of brilliance and magic projected to the audience, be it the stellar acting and chemistry between actors Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, or Justin Hurwitz’s beautifully orchestrated musical numbers ranging from playfully upbeat, undeniably uplifting and ‘get-out-of-your-seat-and-burst-into-song-and-dance’ to soulful and emotional with every heart-wrenching note played, the music will not disappoint, whether you’re a jazz lover who’s looking for the perfect jazz-filled musical, or someone who’s never been all that into jazz- either way, you’re gonna walk out loving jazz.
A nod to the vibrant aesthetics and cinematography of this film is well deserved as well. Honestly watching this, you get a sense of timelessness, it’s a classic, but it’s also brand new and something I’ve never seen before. Without giving too much away, I don’t think you’ll need to be an expert in cinematography to truly appreciate the amazing lighting and colour used in this film, it’s a technicolor dream for anyone, as if they’ve used every colour on the palette so brilliantly yet subtly as well.
You’d think from the story line or even trailer that this is your typical love story, and one would think “if you’ve seen one love story, you’ve seen them all” and I admit, even prior to seeing this film, I thought how could they really bring the love story to a new level, but after watching it I was proven wrong; this story is more than a typical cheesy play-by-play of two people running around in meadows and living in a bubble fantasy of romance, it’s a harsh reality as well, it snaps you out of that and it’s a tribute to the vicious industry Hollywood can be, it’s undoubtedly a call to any dreamer who thinks their goals are impossible: Life is hard, but you can do it.
You’ll walk out of the cinema feeling infinite, like the world to you is a big ocean of possibilities, and there’s a feel of magic in the air, but you’ll also be deeply disappointed that no one is up for spontaneously bursting into a musical number, but it’s okay, you’ve got the comfort of your own room to sing and dance your sweet heart out like it’s your own audition, and you’ll be running back to see it time and time again.
Overall, it’s a heart-warming huge hug for the soul, with not a dull moment at all, from the very start, you’re pulled into the extraordinary city life of Los Angeles that you’ll feel like you’ve lived there your whole life. The only bad thing I’ve got to say about this film, is that it ended at some point.