A musical that’s a tribute to old Hollywood set in modern day is captivating audiences across the country for good reasons. In his third feature film, director/writer Damien Chazelle delivers a beautiful musical that works in every way. Incredible music, dance numbers, cinematography, and chemistry combine for a moving motion picture experience.
La La Land takes the best of old and new Hollywood and combines them into a spectacular show. Struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) fall in love as the film outlines their relationship’s trials and tribulations. Stone and Gosling gave excellent performances and deserve all the award nominations they are racking up. Between their dancing, singing, musicality, and non-musical acting, they absolutely killed it. Gosling was particularly fantastic due to his incredible piano playing. The emotion that he used while performing made him look like a true musician. Their chemistry was also off the charts. Stone and Gosling were the perfect couple, and they were mesmerizing to watch.
The music was easily the best part of the film. The score is hands down the best of the year and will be stuck in your head for days. I still find myself humming the themes almost a week after seeing the film. Besides a catchy score, all of the original songs were very well written. The best of the songs are Gosling’s “City of Stars” and Stone’s “Audition (The Fools Who Dream).” The opening big musical numbers of “Another Day of Sun” and “Someone in the Crowd” are also very catchy and enjoyable. All of the jazzy songs are instant classics that will have you tapping your foot and humming along within seconds. The music also helps to keep the film nice and light.
To make it a true musical, La La Land combines great songs with dance for fun musical numbers. My favorite scene is one of these extended song-and-dance numbers that takes place maybe twenty minutes into the film. Stone and Gosling perform a lovely tap routine that was the epitome of what Chazelle was trying to achieve with the film. All the dances feature beautiful choreography, which makes La La Land a great musical.
The other great aspect of the film is the picturesque cinematography. The shots of Los Angeles were pretty, as was the entire film. The use of shadows and lighting were fantastic and made the film feel like a play at times. I truly believe that La La Land will sweep the awards for best score, original song, original screenplay, and cinematography at every awards show this winter. It will definitely take home a lot of technical awards too. As for acting and best picture, I haven’t seen all the potential nominees yet to fully know who should win, but I doubt anything can take best picture away from La La Land.
At times, the story did drag a little. However, what the story lacks is made up for in every other aspect of the film. It’s a forgivable thing considering everything else about the film is great. Chazelle has proved himself to be a great director and a genius at bringing music to life on screen in an era where musicals aren’t as big as they once were. Stone and Gosling were the perfect choices to bring the magic of music to life in La La Land.
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