‘LA LA LAND’ (2016) MOVIE REVIEW – The One To Beat Come the 2017 Oscars
Just give ‘La La Land’ all the Oscars…….. all of them.
La La Land is a phenomenal entry in the Musical genre that will no doubt blow you away from the exhilarating opening number right through to the emotional and perfectly climactic finale. In the film you are guided through a modern LA following a struggling pianist Sebastian and an endlessly dedicated actress Mia, and their journey to find success in their respective dream careers. Full of constantly swinging emotions you will experience moments of happiness, sadness, and pure excitement that will take you on a rollercoaster with plenty of surprises. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are electrifying in every scene they feature and have chemistry bleeding off the screen that will have you loving both of their characters. Damien Chazelle directs this film and if you don’t know who he his then you most definitely will know. He previously directed Whiplash (2015), one of the best movies of that year and shares many of the same qualities that makes this film so majestic.
The way you are introduced to these two main characters (Sebastian and Mia) and the way you gradually learn more and more about them is handled in such an amazing manner that you quickly fall in love with them and feel as though you know both of them. Watching them interact throughout the film and go back and forth whether it was through musical numbers or just one on one dialogue scenes was so engaging and entertaining because you really care for both of them and they just have a chemistry together that you cannot look away from. The performances by Gosling and Stone are most definitely two of the best you will see this year, but Emma Stone in particular puts on a show so compelling and so emotionally powerful that if anyone manages to take the Academy Award for Best Actress from her come February i will be more than shocked. The dedication and emotion they convey through their performances adds so much to the film and compliments every other department very well. There is also a good amount of humour injected in small doses constantly throughout the film and that helped to lighten the tone when transitioning from moments that may not be so upbeat.
As i mentioned previously, Damien Chazelle is the mastermind behind La La Land and his huge passion for music is represented vividly. The way he implements it into the film is executed with near perfection in every scene. It features as a technique used to establish a sense of tone, to evoke certain emotions and emotional transitions, and even extremely cleverly as a storytelling technique where many scenes rely on the music and visuals alone to tell the story. There are even moments where the overall tone of the film manages to shift multiple times through a single song so elegantly it was just beautiful. One cannot talk about this film without highlighting the downright flawless cinematography that only elevates your enjoyment of the film. Every shot is so intricately detailed and planned out that half the time i found myself getting lost in the stunning scenery that continued to wow me right to the very end. And it isn’t just the complexity of scenes that draws your gaze, simple shots such as one involving black silhouettes gliding over a starry night sky backdrop were unbelievably beautiful. This movie i would say is worth seeing simply to admire the cinematography work and visual style on show.
There isn’t a single negative i have been able to pick out where i thought the film needed some fixing. The pacing ebbs and flows with the tones and emotions playing out in the film which is just an amazing way to emulate how certain characters are feeling at various points of the film. Genius filmmaking. The choreography of these musical sequences is just magical and you wonder how long it took to perfect those scenes. I will say though that yes there is romance, there is drama, and there is humour here for you to enjoy, but this is first an foremost a Musical at its core. If you don’t like musicals you will be painfully and eagerly awaiting the credits, but if you are a fan of the musical genre then holy shit, you cannot miss this film once it comes to theatres.