La La Land
Posted Jan 22, 2017
La La Land, the 2nd feature length movie directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), is the musical you’ve all been waiting for. Or rather, the musical you didn’t expect, and now have on overwhelming desire to see what all the fuss is about. Starring Emma Stone (Easy A, The Amazing Spiderman, Superbad), Ryan Gosling (Drive, Half Nelson, The Place Beyond The Pines) and a subtle cameo by J.K Simmons (Whiplash, Spiderman 1,2 and 3) La La Land is centred around a failing actress and a traditionalist jazz pianist, trying to make their dreams reality in the ever sunny land of Los Angeles.
I have mulled over what to write about La La Land for over a week now, even attending a 2nd viewing to help cement my opinions. The film is a triumph. A really stunning piece of entertainment that puts a smile on your face from the opening scene that won’t quit until ‘The End!’. I could honestly sit here and just list off superlatives to describe what a beauty of a movie La La Land really is. Coincidentally I was speaking to a friend of mine 3 days before watching and we were discussing how every now and then, a film has that rare occasion where every thing seems to go right. The cast, the writing, the soundtrack, the costumes, all come together to make something really special. Something special that not only critics agree is a stroke of brilliance, but so do the mass populous. In recent times this has been achieved in films such as The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Damien Chazelles previous release: Whiplash (2014). La La Land is one of these films.
It is no secret that I have often cited bravery in cinema to be one of my biggest attributes to applaud in a film. Be that an unconventional ending, a theme that wouldn’t usually be a film to base 2 hours of storytelling around, or a creative decision that would set the film aside, as something different in the time period. In a time now of Superhero films, Sci-Fi spectaculars, coming of age drama and CGI epics, to produce a musical that is a throwback to the time of Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, is brave. It is a bold move that could very easily have been a catastrophe for any ordinary director. But this isn’t any ordinary director, this is Damien Chazelle who’s big screen debut was the aforementioned Whiplash. A film met with extraordinary critical acclaim and launched him into the history books winning 3 Academy Awards.
I’ve heard people say they are sceptical that many are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ by agreeing that La La Land is a modern great, and that critics are all in agreeance with each other to show an understanding of cinema that the average movie-goer does not. I must state, this sincerely is not the case. It really is a rare piece of cinematic brilliance and one of the finest films of the last few years. I’d certainly say it is in my top 25 films I have ever seen. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are sensational, the chemistry they share is wonderfully nonchalant and so real, so pure and so enticing. The music (a key part of a musical) really is amazing. Some of the musical numbers, be they slow and singular, or upbeat and a huge ensemble, resound deeply and engulf you in all kind of emotion. A real ride of energy, melancholy, heartache, joy and inspiration. La La Land is a really remarkable film that if 1000 people watch, I can’t imagine many more than 30 people not enjoying, it really is that great. If you haven’t seen it yet, firstly why not? Secondly, please, take your family, take your partner, take your friend, take yourself, and enjoy 2 hours of undiluted cinematic beauty.